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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

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October 1, 2019 by Will Mitchell, National Parents Organization of Kansas

This week marked the release of the 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card issued by the National Parents Organization. The grading serves as a national study to provide a comprehensive ranking of the states on their child custody statutes, assessing them primarily on the degree to which they promote shared parenting after divorce or separation.

This study was motivated by the tremendous impact our nation’s family courts have on children whose parents are divorced or separated, and by recent consensus statements by leading child development research organizations that confirm children thrive with shared parenting following separation or divorce. A research team evaluated the child custody statutes of each state and determined a shared parenting grade for each, based on existing statutes.

Kansas earned a C- according to the NPO research.

Garrett Tacha, who lives in western Kansas, recently celebrated a ruling in his county courthouse which gave him equal custody time with his children. Tears of joy began to stream down his face as he walked out of the courtroom. His reaction was understandable considering he had to wait nearly three years after his divorce and pay over $30,000 in attorney fees in order to have meaningful time with his children. Tacha would later say, “I don’t understand why I had to spend thousands of dollars to prove that I am a fit and loving parent.”

If Tacha is confused by our family courts, he’s not the only one. His case serves as perfect example of why legislative reform is needed to help fix our courts.

Tacha was a fit parent without a criminal record, had never committed a violent crime in his life but was only allowed to see his children 15 hours a week by the judge. “The outcome of the court was awful. I couldn’t believe it. My heart was in pieces after that court date,” he said.

Read the rest here.

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September 29, 2019 by Molly Olson

Equal-shared-parenting legislation continues to sweep the nation. This year, more than half of all states across the country considered long overdue legislation to equally protect a child’s time with each fit parent after divorce and separation.

In Minnesota, an equal-parenting bill was heard on the floor of the state House of Representatives. However, with a 67-67 tie vote, our 2019 Legislature failed to pass it.

For over 20 years, citizen advocates in Minnesota have been educating policymakers and asking state legislators to pass laws for a “rebuttable presumption” of equal-shared-parenting time. This non-partisan legal reform creates a starting place of equal parenting time for fit parents. It includes exceptions to protect the safety of children, considers practical limitations, and it’s never a mandate.

This year, the Minnesota bill had strong bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. Sadly, heavy-handed, misleading scare tactics from the divorce-lawyer lobby and highly partisan late-night drama on the House floor resulted in four DFL legislators withdrawing support.

Legal reform is needed for good reason. Decades of credible research are clear: Children thrive with both parents equally in their lives. Restricting a child’s access to one fit parent below equal time poses great risk to children.

This month, the National Parents Organization published its newly updated Equal Shared Parenting Report Card. This report card provides an overview of how each state ranks on 21 different statutory measures. These measures, developed by NPO, impact the degree to which state laws support the equal involvement of both fit parents after divorce and separation. The last report card was completed in 2014. NPO has clarified that the true grade for Minnesota in 2014 was a D.

Read the rest here.

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October 3, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Criticism of the system of child support enforcement is spreading.  Gradually, the realization that that system is draconian and often acts contrary to its stated aims is seeping into regional publications (Tulsa World, 9/26/19).

Eva Durchholz may only be a college student, but, when it comes to our system of child support enforcement, she gets it.  A student at Vanderbilt, she recently completed an internship that allowed her to observe child support practices in action.

The Tulsa court system discriminates against people in poverty.

Indeed it does.  As the Office of Child Support Enforcement has been saying since at least 2006, courts begin by setting child support at levels parents can’t pay, tack on interest that in some states hits the 12% per annum level and, when the inevitable arrearages crop up, suspend the debtor’s license to drive and perhaps other licenses.  Then, as night follows day, comes jail.

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Joe Hunter, a father of six, spoke at the press conference for the release of our Shared Parenting Report Card on September 18, 2019 on the difficulties he faced trying to get shared parenting after his divorce and his hopes for change.

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September 30, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

In Professor Meier’s study of 4,338 family law cases, courts credited mothers’ claims of abuse against fathers 36% of the time, i.e. in 795 out of 2,189 cases.

Meier went on to examine the rate of corroboration of those claims of abuse.  Unfortunately, she did so in a way that was essentially guaranteed to overstate the rate at which claims of abuse were corroborated.  That’s because she considered every case to be “corroborated” in which a protective order was issued, a man was arrested or was prosecuted.

As close followers of domestic violence law, policy and practice know well, none of that means that DV actually occurred.  The mere allegation of domestic violence is usually sufficient to have a man arrested and a protective order issued against him.  “No drop” policies by prosecutors ensure prosecution, even when the complainant seeks to withdraw the charge or refuses to cooperate with the state.  In short, Meier’s definition of corroboration in no way means that DV occurred, only that she concluded that it did.

So how many corroborated cases were there out of the 4,338 total cases analyzed?  Just 599, or about 13.7% of all cases.  Given Meier’s expansive definition of “corroboration,” we’d think there’d have been more, but over 86% of cases didn’t even have that.  This again brings up the question I’ve asked in previous pieces on Meier’s study: what is the nature of the abuse referred to in the cases reviewed?  Surely serious cases of DV involving overt injury would have been corroborated by at least one of the required criteria - protective orders, arrest or prosecution.  The remarkably low number of cases with corroborated allegations strongly suggests what the rest of Meier’s data do – that the overwhelming majority of abuse claims allege relatively minor and/or non-injurious incidents.

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September 28, 2019 by Don Hubin, PhD, Chair, National Board of Directors

National Parents Organization just published the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card, and the news for Ohioans isn’t great. The Buckeye state received a middling “C,” the same grade it received in the NPO study five years ago.

That’s no surprise.

In those five years, the Ohio legislature has made no improvements in our laws dealing with post-separation parenting. As a result, Ohio is behind the times; let me count the ways.

First, Ohio legislators have not responded to the research done in the past three decades that provides compelling evidence that in most cases, and absent abuse, children of separated parents do best when parents share as equally as possible in the responsibilities of raising the children. Indeed, surprising many, this research shows that children who are parented equally by both parents living separately do about as well on average as children raised in families where the parents live together. And they do much better than children raised in sole-custody arrangements.

Our statutes, to the degree that they seek to truly promote the best interest of children, should reflect these results.

Read the rest here

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September 28, 2019 by Tony Bickel, National Parents Organization of Wisconsin

As Wisconsinites, we can be proud of how separated Wisconsin parents address and fulfill their financial obligations for their children.

According to the Department of Children and Families website dialog box of current support obligations, Wisconsin parents ranked high compared to all 50 states. Although Wisconsin isn’t at 100% yet, the rate has been trending upward for years now.

Many studies have been done on the value of shared parenting and its positive effects on children, including emotional stability, academic success and significant reductions in drug use and juvenile delinquency.

Recently, the National Parents Organization put out a report card rating each of the 50 states on the prevalence of shared parenting statutes for children with separated parents. Wisconsin received a B-. Although this is above the average, it is a reminder that we must continue to strive for improvement and education on meeting the needs of children in homes without both parents living together.

Read the rest here.

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September 30, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors

We need fathers in children’s lives.  The epidemic of fatherlessness that’s descended on this country and made itself right at home is the single worst social problem we face.  About a third of divorced or separated fathers have no contact with their children.  In too many ways to count, that’s bad for kids, bad for dads, bad for mothers and bad for society.  Fatherlessness is accomplished in many different ways, from divorce courts to adoption laws to child support laws and to, yes, this (Fox17, 8/21/19).

Nashville native Antonio Davis is a fine and loving father.  His two kids will tell you that.

To his son and daughter, Antonio Davis is everything.

His daughter Antonia describes him this way: "By having him as my father, that's the best thing I could have, and I'm truly lucky to have him."

That’s great, but just because Davis is everything we’d want a father to be doesn’t mean our system of laws and practices respects him or what he has to offer children. 

Eighteen years ago, Davis had a relationship with a woman who goes unnamed in the article.  She announced that she was pregnant and that Davis was the father.  As we’d expect of a man like Davis, he stepped up and signed a paternity acknowledgement.  That meant he was admitting paternity and committing to support the child.

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September 29, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Professor Joan Meier wants readers of her study to conclude from its findings that family courts are in the throes of a crisis of their own making.  That crisis, according to her, is the widespread denial of custody to mothers, even when fathers are abusive and especially when fathers claim mothers to be alienating the children.

The core findings from this study provide strong support for the critiques of family courts’ handling of cases involving mothers’ claims of abuse by fathers. The data show that courts are excessively skeptical of child physical and sexual abuse reports, are likely overly skeptical of domestic violence claims, and sometimes award custody to known abusers. Overall, mothers reporting abuse – particularly child abuse - are losing custody at high rates.

But can we draw those conclusions?  Since Meier nowhere attempts to define domestic violence, child abuse or child sexual abuse, what exactly are the cases she included in her study referring to?  She calls men accused of DV and those who’ve been found to have committed DV “abusive,” but what does that mean?  As I said last time, a person, male or female, who shoves an intimate partner has committed domestic violence, but how concerned about that should we be?  Should a child lose that person as a parent simply because of that shove?  The Administration for Children and Families reports every year that mothers commit more child abuse and neglect than do fathers.  Should they all lose custody?

Plus, just because one person commits domestic violence or child abuse doesn’t mean the other parent didn’t as well, but Meier’s method of gathering data largely ignores the fact.  So yes, Dad may have spanked the child, but what did Mom do?  Perhaps nothing, but perhaps she’s equally or more abusive.  Whatever the case, Meier’s data fail to let us know.

Finally, does the study reveal a crisis in family courts?  Let’s look at Meier’s findings.

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September 28, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Last time I pointed out that the author of the study on which the Washington Post article is based, law professor Joan Meier, claimed that “fathers have been winning far more than mothers for decades and that joint custody or shared parenting is already the overwhelming norm in state family courts.”  There is of course no data to back up those transparently untrue claims and much to refute them.  Still, it’s valuable, when assessing the validity or lack thereof of a person’s study, to know their mindset. 

So Meier and colleagues set out to learn what happens in family courts when a mother claims, in the course of custody proceedings, that a father has been abusive, either to her or the child or both.  They also wanted to know to what extent counterclaims by fathers of parental alienation by mothers affected case outcomes.

They relied exclusively on published case opinions – 4,338 in total – 84% of which were appellate cases.

From the outset, the study is dogged by methodology that likely renders its findings of little or no value.  As law professor Nicholas Bala pointed out, when using nearly all appellate cases, Meier, et al automatically introduced selection bias into their sample.  Bala called their sample “very skewed.”

Worse, nowhere is “abuse” ever defined.  According to the study, apparently all claimed abuse was equal in severity.  While domestic violence is never acceptable, no effort was made to differentiate between the most brutal beatings and or verbal abuse, between repeated abuse and a one-time argument in the midst of a divorce.  That’s an obviously fatal omission.  In minor cases of DV, a judge is right not to permanently deny a child contact with the offending parent.  There is a new consensus forming that people who commit acts of domestic violence need to be held accountable, but most importantly help and treatment so they can form healthy relationships.

The Post article said that Meier isn’t saying that judges’ findings about whether or not DV occurred were wrong, but nowhere does that realization, or its consequences for her findings, make it into her write-up of the study.

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dadand daughterSeptember 27, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Last time I began discussing an article in the Washington Post that makes the remarkable claims that (a) claims of domestic violence, child physical abuse and child sexual abuse by mothers result in their losing custody to abusive fathers and (b) much of that comes about due to fathers’ allegations of parental alienation that is a “controversial claim.”  For the most part, Post writer Samantha Schmidt reports those claims unquestioningly.  Her sole “balance” consists of a quotation from law professor Nicholas Bala who points out that the study that’s the article’s raison d'être relies on selection bias to make its claims.

Now, that fact alone should be enough to render the study questionable at best.  I’ll say more about the study in a future piece, but for now I’ll only point out that it was conducted by law professor Joan Meier who’s not only long been a frank enemy of fathers maintaining meaningful relationships with their children following divorce, but is willing to make some quite astonishingly untrue claims in order to do so.

Back in December of 2017, Meier wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in which she said,

The reality is that fathers have been winning [custody] far more than mothers for decades and that joint custody or shared parenting is already the overwhelming norm in state family courts.

Seriously, she said that.  In writing.  Never mind that there’s literally no serious evidence for anything she said.  Never mind that the best study ever done of court decisions when compared with parents’ requests in court, Maccoby and Mnookin’s Dividing the Child, found that courts grant mothers’ requests for custody at four times the rate of fathers.

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September 24, 2019 by Chad Phillips, National Parents Organization of West Virginia

With the release of National Parents Organization’s 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card, it remains clear that there is still much work to do in West Virginia. Many states are moving closer to shared parenting as the norm in family courts. However, West Virginia lags behind, receiving a grade of C-.

There is effort to improve our family court system, but most changes are met with resistance. Some improvements include legislation pertaining to false allegations of abuse, as well as a change in parental responsibilities pertaining to custody percentages.

According to several professional studies, shared equal custody benefits children greatly after a separation or divorce. Our children deserve to have as much meaningful time and contact with both their parents before, during and after a separation regardless of the attitude of the parents. The best protection for the children in West Virginia would be new legislation providing equal time with both parents in temporary and final court orders, assuming there is no proof of a history of abuse.

Proof is important. We wouldn’t send someone to prison for bank robbery just because they were accused. They are entitled to due process, which includes a trial. If found guilty, they pay the price for their crime.

Family court doesn’t have to meet the same burden of proof, however. Children are often removed from a parent’s life over a false accusation. All children need protection from all adults in their lives whether it be parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches or their medical providers.

Read the rest here.

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September 26, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD,  Member, National Board of Directors

It’s one of those “Advice from a Lawyer” columns, this time in the Northwest Herald, an Illinois publication.  The issue?  “I want to know where my child support goes.” (Northwest Herald, 8/23/19)

It’s an important issue for many, many non-custodial parents paying to an ex.  We often see fathers or mothers complaining that “I pay every month, but when I see my child, she’s dressed in rags and hasn’t eaten recently.”  Or words to that effect.

Put simply, the fact that non-custodial parents don’t know “where my child support goes” is one of the major reasons why obligors don’t want to pay.  They have the sense that what they pay is spousal support, not child support.

So what’s the response to the query?  This: you may want to know where your child support goes, but you can’t.  The state makes no provision for answering your legitimate question.  It assumes your ex is using the money for the child, but if they’re not, well, you have no recourse.  We’ll shout to the heavens about how important supporting a child is, but what’s actually important to states is that money be transferred from one ex to another.  Once that happens, we couldn’t care less what the recipient does with it.

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September 19, 2019 by Matt Hancock

The last 17 months have been nothing short of historic for the state of Kentucky and the topic of shared parenting. On April 26, 2018, Gov. Matt Bevin signed the nation’s first, true shared-parenting law, which provides children of divorce/separation a rebuttable presumption of joint custody and equal shared-parenting time with both parents, as long as they are fit and able caregivers. To celebrate and emphasize this amazing achievement, on April 26 of this year, Bevin issued a proclamation to establish this day as Shared Parenting Day in Kentucky.

As momentum from the new law has swept across the state, we have learned that it’s one of the most popular laws we have. A recent poll in Kentucky by National Parents Organization asked the question, “Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: A child would benefit from having equal time with both fit parents following divorce?” The results were a staggering 84% answering “yes.” In addition to its popularity, the new law has seen decreased conflict in family court since it went into effect. Family court filings are down 11%, and domestic violence claims are down 445 cases.

This is all great news because as a proud Kentuckian, I always hate hearing when our state is ranked last or near the bottom in any given statistical category. And it was no different back in 2014 when National Parents Organization released its Shared Parenting Report Card grades. Kentucky came in with a D-, which was good for 48th best in the nation at that time.

Read the rest here.

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September 23, 2019 by Jason Griffith

The horns and trumpets are playing louder than ever before in continued celebration of the new shared parenting law in Kentucky, the nation’s first true shared parenting law.

National Parents Organization has released their Shared Parenting Report Card grades for each state, and Kentucky is the first state to ever receive an A. What makes the A even more remarkable is that we received a D- grade in the last report card back in 2014. Continuing with this great news is that we have new statistical data showing family court filings are down 11% and domestic violence claims are down 445 cases since the law’s inception.

The new law is gaining popularity by the day with Kentucky taking the lead in shared parenting, helping to provide for happy and healthy families here in the bluegrass state. I’ve had the greatest opportunity to keep the family structure alive with the help of the new shared parenting law. Parents can now be looked at as a loving parent, instead of being looked at as a second class citizen, which is what some parents are relegated to by the family court system when shared parenting is not granted to a fit and able caregiver. National Parents Organization recently conducted a poll in Kentucky with one of the questions, “Do you agree or disagree with the law that it is in the child’s best interest to have as much time as possible with both fit parents in instances of divorce?”  And the response was an astounding 83% agreeing.

Read the rest here.

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September 11,2019 by The Staff of the Oldham Era

People going through a divorce or breakup often face a difficult choice. Should I stay to protect my children or leave to protect myself? No person, mom or dad, should have to face that choice. Fathers are more likely to face another level of issues such as false abuse or domestic violence claims.

In fact, Kentucky’s citizens said that false abuse claims were not uncommon “to gain an advantage” in custody cases by 61% to 13%. Mothers have their own unique issues. If they leave, they may lose custody of what they love most, their children. Additionally, non-custodial moms face the stigma that goes with not being their children’s caregiver.

However, healthy moms and dads want to be parents after their families end. Kentucky recently became the first state to make that easier by passing the nation’s first true-shared parenting law.

Shared parenting is defined as joint custody, which is equal legal decision making, and equal parenting time. Kentucky stated last year what we all know that children need both parents if the adults are healthy. It seems so obvious that it is hard to believe it was truly a bold step.

Now, the results are in from Kentucky’s bold shared parenting step. The year before Kentucky had any shared parenting laws, there were 22,512 family court cases filed. They declined to 21,847 the year the partial shared parenting law began. When the complete shared parenting law took effect in the last 12 months, new cases plummeted to 19,991.

Read the rest here.

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dad kids guitarSeptember 25, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD

Two bills passed the New York Legislature this session making it easier for adopted kids to contact and get to know their birth parents.  This article lauds both as a step out of the “stone age.” (New York Daily News, 8/9/19). 

In the flurry of progressive bills passed at the end of the legislative session, a historic confluence in family law slipped by unnoticed. Two bills passed that reflect a sea change in how we understand adoption. They would put New York at the forefront of recognizing that adoption should be about expanding, not obliterating, family ties.

One would allow adoptees to access their “long form” birth certificates and therefore know who their biological parents are.  That of course would allow them greater access to the two people who brought them into the world.  Many, many adoptees bemoan their inability to know their biological parents and experience the absence as an acute loss.

The second adoption bill that passed is more controversial, though it stems from the exact same idea as the first: we should allow adoptees to embrace their origins as well as their new families. An increasing percentage of adoptions are of children in foster care. In contrast to private adoptions, which are voluntary, these adoptions result from the government severing the legal relationship between parent and child. Traditionally, terminating parental rights — called “the death penalty” of family law — has meant an abrupt end to the parent-child relationship, even when, as is often the case, the children lived much of their lives with their parents, visited with them while in foster care, and remain strongly bonded to them.

So the second bill would allow kids adopted out of foster care to maintain relationships with the parents whose rights were terminated.

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by Tina Lia, Chair, Hawaii Affiliate of National Parents Organization

National Parents Organization (NPO) released a groundbreaking study in 2014, the first of its kind to analyze and rank each state on its child custody statutes. This Shared Parenting Report Card study was motivated by the impact that family courts have on children. The focus was on how each state addresses the promotion of shared parenting in its legislative statutes, and Hawaii’s “C-” grade that year was a bleak reflection of the lack of progress we’ve made towards better outcomes for our children.

Five years later, the 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card has been released, and Hawaii still has made no significant progress. 

The consensus among leading child development research organizations confirms that children do best when they have equal access to both loving, fit parents after divorce or separation. Hawaii has fallen behind on this issue, and children are suffering because our elected leaders have failed to make shared parenting a priority.

NPO has compiled some of the best studies available on this matter, viewable on our website, and the data is clear. The well-being of children is directly impacted by their ability to have meaningful relationships with both parents. Shared parenting and a legal presumption of equal parenting time is best for children in most cases.

Read the full article here.

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September 24, 2019 by Maressa Brown

No one can argue with the fact that successful co-parenting benefits everyone involved—especially a child whose parents continue to share responsibilities post-separation or divorce. Unfortunately, many state governments appear to be the last ones onboard with this conclusion.

According to a new report card on shared parenting from the National Parents Organization (NPO), a third of states received a D+ grade or worse for how well their child custody statutes encourage an arrangement where children spend equal time with both parents after divorce or separation.

The report card served as an update to the organization's 2014 evaluation of states' statutory provisions encouraging shared parenting, which they defined as an arrangement where both parents have equal responsibility for raising their child(ren). "We define shared parenting as, at a minimum, a parent has a third of the time with a child," says Ginger Gentile, deputy executive director of the National Parents Organization. "We're getting away from the 1950s model of the kids are with one parent, often the mom, and they often see the visiting parent on the weekends."

The good news: NPO pointed out that over the past five years, 13 shared parenting bills in nine states have been signed into law. Meanwhile, the number of states that are considered "shared parenting" states (which means they got a C grade or higher) increased from 26 in 2014 to 34 in 2019.

The bad news: Seventeen states got Ds or Fs.

Read the full article here.

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Linda Reutzel

September 23, 2019 by Linda Reutzel, Member, National Board of Directors

Kentucky’s monumental passage of the Shared-Parenting bill last year has been deemed the most “popular” vote in the state.  According to an August 30, 2019 opinion piece in Kentucky’s Courier-Journal,  the Administrative Office of the Courts has issued a report that shows a  reduction in domestic court cases by 11%  and a reduction of 445 cases of domestic violence since the full law took effect. Missouri, the Show-Me state, has clearly been shown.


Two key and influential Missouri state lawmakers, Senator Wayne Wallingford and Representative Kathy Swan are continuing to rise to the challenge in making effective change on this issue here at home.  They will kick-off a viewing of the powerful and gripping documentary “Erasing Family,” in Cape Girardeau in October 2019.   The documentary explores trauma experienced by children when a loving, fit parent is erased from their lives due to separation and divorce.  This launch of the documentary in Missouri is fittingly in their corner of the state. Additional screenings will continue as the documentary goes on the road. 

More and more Missouri elected officials are turning their attention to the critical and frequently intertwined issues of social justice and criminal justice and this provides every opportunity for the legislation that these lawmakers will file again in the 2020 session to be a top priority in the Missouri Assembly.  The policy change simply starts with a premise that there are two fit parents, provides a judge with discretion to determine otherwise, and additionally, provides a built-in mechanism for a rebuttable presumption

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September 23, 2019 by Dave Edmondson, National Parents Organization of Texas

The just released 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card gave our great state of Texas a not so great C-. Our poor showing contradicts the principle of equality that is at the absolute core of American and Texan ideology.

No, this isn’t going to be a discussion about egalitarianism, or the war between liberal and conservative values. This is a discussion about children and what’s in their best interest. It’s a discussion about a child’s right to have both parents equally represented in his or her life, working together, helping them become the best person he or she can possibly become. 

In the earliest years of learning and childhood development, we teach our children the concept of right and wrong. We teach them about differences and the importance of tolerance and acceptance. From these lessons our children learn important foundations for social skills and self-esteem. They develop their own perceptions of the world and a moral outlook with which to compare and contrast everything. At the root of these teachings, we show our children and hope that they embody the notion that we are all created equal.

Read the rest here.

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September 23, 2019

PHOENIX – A parents' rights group rates Arizona one of the top states for policies that encourage shared parenting in child custody cases.

The 
National Parents Organization recently issued a report card on family court policies that gave more than a third of U.S. states a failing grade for not giving both parents equal access to their children.

Ginger Gentile, the group’s deputy executive director, says NPO gave only two states – Arizona and Kentucky – a grade of 'A' for statutes that promote shared parenting.


"Most states are still failing their children by not ensuring that parents have equal access as the default,” she points out. “This means parents have to go to court to fight to see their children, or if they cannot afford to go to court, they might lose out on access altogether."

Gentile says the group promotes joint custody arrangements, where both parents have equal standing in raising children after a separation or divorce.

Read the rest of the article here.

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September 23, 2019 by Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chairman Emeritus

As other states move ahead on a crucial matter of social justice, Massachusetts lags behind by failing to promote shared parenting for parents who do not live together.

The absence of a father is a stronger predictor of a troubled life journey for a child than is race or poverty. There is little reason to expect changes in rates of divorce or childbearing outside of marriage such that 25% of children grow up without a father in the home. But we can help these children immensely by enacting shared parenting — a flexible arrangement that ensures that a child spends no less than 35% of her time with each separated parent, if both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence.

Abundant research from at least 18 countries has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that the great majority of children do better with this arrangement, despite the best efforts of loving single mothers.

The 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card, a just-released study of all 50 states by National Parents Organization, shows that many states have moved forward in the past five years on this critical matter, with nine states having passed legislative changes since 2014 that improved their grades, on average, from a D+ to a B-. There has been no change in Massachusetts custody law despite years of advocacy. While shared parenting legislation has passed the Massachusetts House at least twice, it has died in the Senate each time.

Read the rest of the article here and please comment on the newspaper’s site.

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September 22, 2019 by Don Hubin, Chair, National Board of Directors

National Parents Organization (NPO) published the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card, and the news for Ohioans isn’t great. The Buckeye state received a middling “C,” the same grade it received in the NPO study five years ago.

That’s no surprise. In those five years, the Ohio legislature has made no improvements in our laws dealing with post-separation parenting.

NPO researchers evaluated the statutes of Ohio, the other 49 states and the District of Columbia to determine the degree to which those laws promote the well-being of children by encouraging separated parents to share as equally as possible in rearing their children. NPO then graded the states’ statutes based on 21 factors that encourage or discourage shared parenting. The average grade for all of the states is a disappointing “C-.”

Read the rest of the article here and please comment on the newspaper’s site.

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