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Scholars from around the world are expected to gather in Boston to present research results on how shared parenting after divorce or separation affects children.

The International Conference on Shared Parenting will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting will serve as hosts.

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Scholars from around the world are expected to gather in Boston to present research results on how shared parenting after divorce or separation affects children.

The International Conference on Shared Parenting will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting will serve as hosts.

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I sat down with Dr. Ned Holstein, the founder and chairman of the board of the National Parents Organization at the International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston. The National Parents Organization has a mission to preserve the bond between parents and children. To that end, at this conference, the world’s most renowned child development experts in the area of post-divorce parenting have gathered to share their research results. How do children fare with and without shared parenting post-divorce?

“There are two big disconnects going on,” Dr. Holstein said. “One is that the general public overwhelmingly believes that shared parenting should be the usual outcome if both parents are fit and there’s been no domestic violence. In fact, this very question went before 700,000 voters in Massachusetts and 86% voted in favor of shared parenting. However, shared parenting is happening in less than 10% of the cases.

“To define the term: shared parenting means that each parent receives at least 35% of the parenting time. This is flexible. There’s no straight-jacket here, but at least there’s a definition.”

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CBS Boston radio interviews Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization on the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting - listen here

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As a young psychology intern in the late 1970s, my first patients were boys from divorced homes, suffering from what was then called “father hunger.” In those days, when parents split up, dads fell by the wayside. Fathers saw their children at the mothers’ discretion. This customary fallout from divorce reflected the belief that mothers are supremely important while fathers are expendable. We’ve come a long way since then.

Observing the problems that were being attributed to divorce, my colleagues and I began conducting studies in the late 1970s to learn how to help children cope better when their parents parted ways. The results of our research in Texas, supported by the National Institute for Mental Health, converged with studies in California, Virginia, and Arizona. The message from this work was clear: children and their fathers usually (though not always) wanted and needed more time together than they were getting. All signs pointed to the benefits for most families of having two parents involved in children’s lives who jointly maintained responsibility for their care. This is what is now called shared parenting.

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Scholars from around the world are expected to gather in Boston to present research results on how shared parenting after divorce or separation affects children.

The International Conference on Shared Parenting will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting will serve as hosts.

Find more

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Scholars from around the world are expected to gather in Boston to present research results on how shared parenting after divorce or separation affects children.

The International Conference on Shared Parenting will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting will serve as hosts.

Find more

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Scholars from around the world are expected to gather in Boston to present research results on how shared parenting after divorce or separation affects children.

The International Conference on Shared Parenting will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting will serve as hosts.

Find more

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Scholars from around the world are expected to gather in Boston to present research results on how shared parenting after divorce or separation affects children.

The International Conference on Shared Parenting will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting will serve as hosts.

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We now have more than 50 studies of joint physical custody. Using different methods, and examining families in the United States and abroad, the results are encouraging: children who spend at least 35 percent time with each parent, rather than live with one and visit the other, have better relationships with their fathers and mothers and do better academically, socially, and psychologically. As will be described next week at the International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston, they get better grades; are less likely to smoke, get drunk, and use drugs; and are less susceptible to anxiety, depression, and stress-related illnesses.


Despite the obvious benefits of shared parenting, gender barriers don’t crumble easily and legal reform doesn’t usually happen without pushback. Although critics of shared parenting concede that children whose parents share physical custody enjoy many advantages, they reason that these children do better because their parents have more money and less conflict, not because their children spend nearly equal time with each parent. The critics also believe that if one parent opposes shared custody, it’s a bad plan for that family.

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Dr. Ned Holstein of National Parents Organization previews the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting - listen here

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Listen to Adriana Cohen interview National Parents Organization Founder and Board Chair Ned Holstein, MD, on the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting - click here

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As a physician in internal medicine, Newton’s Dr. Ned Holstein encountered families torn apart by byzantine child-custody arrangements. This led him to found the National Parents Organization, which aims to improve children’s lives through family court reform so that mothers and fathers share equal parenting responsibilities post-divorce.

“I became aware of many stories of people who had been divorced and dealt with the family courts. I didn’t believe the stories. I found it outlandish until I heard so many. And being Jewish, I couldn’t just go along with it. I had to meddle,” he says with a laugh.

Holstein will host the third International Conference on Shared Parenting over Memorial Day weekend at Boston’s Westin Copley Place, bringing together experts around the world to discuss how to protect children’s best interests after divorce.

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I became a new mom last summer, and what a wonderful blessing my new son has been to my family. As I experience the joys and challenges of parenthood, it is hard to imagine my husband not being able to experience the same. Children need both parents. As I have had my own son, I find myself much more supportive of shared parenting and more frustrated with what my husband and I have endured in the custody battle over my stepson, which has spanned three states.

Importantly though, as a society, we must recognize that women and men together are indispensable partners to our country’s most valuable treasure: our children. We need to celebrate both mothers and fathers as often as possible.

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If Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were truly under serious scrutiny by child protective services, this statement makes sense. Apart from the outside accusations, Angelina Jolie’s statement and actions seem a bit illogical, since she has also confirmed recently that Brad Pitt is a good father. As Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of the National Parents Organization, stated in relation to the case, the best interest of the children is served by joint custody.

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With National Parental Alienation Awareness Day falling this week, two Alabama mayors once again made national news by declaring this week, April 23-29, National Parental Alienation Prevention Week - and wouldn't it be wonderful if this could be the last Parental Alienation Prevention Week? Then, we could celebrate a much more joyous occasion, National Happy Children Week, perhaps.

What is "Parental Alienation?" Imagine two loving parents, but they don't get along, and they divorce. Sometimes, a child who previously loved the parent now turns against him or her, and professes to hate the parent. We've all seen this, unfortunately.

We must protect children from the brainwashing that produces this tragic result, which often has lifelong consequences. With that in mind, I'd like to extend a big thank you to Mayor Woody Jacobs of Cullman, Mayor Hollie Cost of Montevallo and the Alabama Family Rights Association for bringing attention to the issue and its consequences for children, the innocent victims.

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“Children are now more likely to see both parents regularly after a divorce, which is a huge win for the children of Kentucky considering research consistently shows shared parenting is in the best interest of children when their parents divorce,” said Matt Hale, Chairman of National Parents Organization of Kentucky. “Plus, parents are no longer in the high-conflict winner win all and loser lose all situation.”

HB 492 was initiated by National Parents Organization and sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, and Representatives Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, and Robby Mills, R-Henderson. Petrie; Hale and Dr. Ryan Schroeder, University of Louisville Sociology Department chairman, testified supporting the law.

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According to the National Parents Organization, a nonprofit that supports family court reform, 24 states are considering or recently passed bills that embrace parental equality if both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence.

Matt Hale, chairman of the Kentucky affiliate of the National Parents Organization, said shared parenting is not a single, clearly defined concept. States that have adopted legislation have differed in how they apply shared parenting. Recent states to pass legislation include Missouri, which doesn’t require 50/50 sharing but encourages involvement by both parents, and Kentucky, where the governor recently signed a bill establishing a presumption of shared parenting and 50/50 custody in temporary custody cases where there is little likelihood of abuse and neglect.

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Earlier this year, The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s MSNBC show “On The Record” as part of a panel discussing the Women’s March.  To be clear, while the Women’s March was an amazing event for a host of reasons, this article is not about that March.  It is about the unfortunate, inaccurate and sexist comments made by Ms. Parker while discussing the Women’s March.  For some reason, Ms. Parker felt it appropriate to suddenly state, “men don’t have the attention span to pull something like this off.”  (I am pretty sure Martin Luther King, Jr. was male, and I seem to remember him organizing some kind of March, but I digress.)  When the rest of the panel expressed disagreement with her comment, Ms. Parker unfortunately doubled down by saying, “Well, you know…what [divorced] men do is just run off, get married again and have more kids.”

The fact that she was comfortable making these statements on national television says a lot by itself.  Moreover, these comments are ultimately not helpful to the many men and women who are working very hard to achieve gender equality.   To be clear, women have faced (and continue to face) their share of sexist comments.  Those comments are as equally inaccurate and unhelpful as Ms. Parker’s comments about men during the Women’s March.  This op-ed focuses on how Ms. Parker’s comments are indicative of a larger, systemic issue in our society, and that we must overcome that kind of divisive rhetoric for all our sakes.

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Today’s child custody law, which favors the antiquated breadwinner/caregiver model, is far from reflective of today’s families. Both moms and dads desire to be hands-on parents as well as career-oriented. And a growing body of research shows that children desperately need and want equal access to both parents, not the current status quo of sole custody, when their parents divorce or separate.

Thankfully, Missouri legislators are currently considering legislation that embraces parental equality and encourages our state’s judges to award shared parenting, a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent.

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Monday, Gov. Matt Bevin signed a revised law affecting temporary child-custody orders — the starting point for divorces. Kentucky’s House and Senate unanimously approved the law, which creates a presumption of joint custody and equal parenting time.

The new law, House Bill 492, answers many Kentucky children’s prayers. The Easter bunny is bringing children a better chance to see both parents after a divorce.

Children in married families enjoy both their parents. Before the new law, children in divorced families enjoyed whichever parent the court picked (primary custody). These children may be allowed a short visit with the other parent.

However, the new law encourages a better arrangement called shared parenting. In shared parenting, children get to see both parents equally. Instead of a single parent winning, the children do.

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Kentucky Governor Bevin signed a family court reform bill into law on Monday, April 10, bringing Kentucky a step closer to making shared parenting in instances of divorce the norm in the state.

The bill, House Bill 492, received unanimous support in both the House (voted 97-0) and Senate (38-0), signaling a long overdue change in our family court's approach to awarding custody in instances of divorce. The new law is also supported by an overwhelming amount of research showing it is in a child's best interest to have as close to equal time with both parents in instances of divorce, particularly early on in the process.

"Children are now more likely to see both parents regularly after a divorce, which is a huge win for the children of Kentucky considering research consistently shows shared parenting is in the best interest of children when their parents divorce," said Matt Hale, Chair of National Parents Organization of Kentucky. "Plus, parents are no longer in the high-conflict winner win all and loser lose all situation."

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The gender pay gap—women earn, on average, 79 cents for every dollar a typical man makes—will not be an easy issue to solve. Contrary to logic, the growth of women in managerial roles hasn’t done much to break down pay disparities between men and women, and diversity initiatives, while effective in boosting the percentage of female employees at a company, often don’t go far enough in ensuring they’re compensated equally.

The pay gap is most pronounced among married women with children (it’s often referred to as “the motherhood penalty”). The total failure of federal and corporate policies to support working mothers means that the outmoded idea that a successful career and family life are mutually exclusive still often manifests itself in a woman’s salary. Introducing comprehensive paid-leave policies is a critical step forward, but to Ned Holstein, a physician and the founder of the National Parents Organization (NPO), it doesn’t fully account for everyone affected by unequal pay policies—specifically, mothers who are separated or divorced from their partners.

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Florida’s alimony laws were written when women had little economic power, when divorce was uncommon, and cohabiting was scandalous. Those days are long gone, but the old-fashioned alimony laws — favoring permanent alimony, until death — linger.

The laws cause immense hardship for those who must support an ex-spouse until he dies or she dies, even for marriages of fewer than 10 years and even to healthy women who begin collecting at 33 years old.

Current alimony law in Florida is emotionally and financially harmful to many families. As an example, many couples who wish to tie the knot are forgoing marriage because, under current Florida law, income from the “new” spouse can go toward alimony payments of the ex-spouse.

The current alimony laws are unfair, not just to the payers but to their children, their new spouses — and even the recipients, who are told never move on with their lives, and who remain on lifetime welfare. The public thinks it’s unfair — and so do most of Florida’s legislators. Twice now, once in 2013, and again in 2016, Florida legislators have voted to update the laws with new limits and plenty of room for judges to make decisions in unusual cases. Unfortunately, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the bill both times.

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