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During Military Family Appreciation Month, National Parents Organization joins the rest of the nation to express gratitude to our military families for their service and sacrifice. While deployment is certainly challenging enough on its own, that stress can increase drastically when military parents are also dealing with child custody battles following a divorce or separation. National Parents Organization believes an additional way to provide support and appreciation for military families is not to make child custody decisions while a parent is deployed.

"The child development research is now crystal clear that children do best when their loving bonds with each parent are protected after parents separate or divorce," says Ned Holstein, MD, founder of National Parents Organization. "Unfortunately, some active duty service members have found that the custody of their children has been changed in important ways while they were serving their country overseas and unable to be present in family court. Sometimes when they return from overseas duty, they cannot even find their children."

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During Military Family Appreciation Month, National Parents Organization has joined the rest of the nation to express gratitude to our military families for their service and sacrifice. While deployment is certainly challenging enough on its own, that stress can increase drastically when military parents are also dealing with child custody battles following a divorce or separation. National Parents Organization believes an additional way to provide support and appreciation for military families is not to make child custody decisions while a parent is deployed.

“The child development research is now crystal clear that children do best when their loving bonds with each parent are protected after parents separate or divorce,” says Ned Holstein, MD, founder of National Parents Organization. “Unfortunately, some active duty service members have found that the custody of their children has been changed in important ways while they were serving their country overseas and unable to be present in family court. Sometimes when they return from overseas duty, they cannot even find their children.”

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While deployment is certainly challenging enough on its own, that stress can increase drastically when military parents are also dealing with child custody battles, especially if one of the parents is deployed far away.

An additional way to provide support and appreciation for military families is through shared parenting rights, regardless of whether a parent is deployed.

Shared parenting is a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time with each parent as possible following a divorce or separation, and is appropriate if there has been no domestic violence and both parents are fit. A growing body of research has shown that shared parenting is in the best interests of children, even those who are very young. Children who have meaningful contact with both parents are shown to be happier and healthier and do better in school than kids raised by single parents in traditional custody arrangements.

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Parents are about to find out if they have protected constitutional rights in divorce and whether the Texas family code violates those rights.

Ron and Sherry Palmer accomplished what attorneys told them would be impossible, the Eastern District Federal Court accepted their brief on Thursday, February 25, 2016, that cites their family court judges ignore parental rights and children’s rights and that the Texas family code violates the constitutional rights of parents and children, in Palmer et al v. Paxton Jr., et al,. Parents and attorneys had not been able to be heard by the federal courts on these constitutional violations before this, told instead they were barred by numerous abstention doctrines like Rooker-Feldman, Pullman, and Younger.

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National Parents Organization recognizes the goals of the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month year-round by raising awareness of the tragic impact domestic violence has on many families throughout the nation. As President Obama has said, domestic violence impacts "women, men, and children of every age, background, and belief."

National Parents Organization will continue to support shared parenting (50/50 custody) when parents divorce or separate only in cases where domestic violence is not an issue. The organization's leadership urges others to also join in the fight against domestic violence by supporting shared parenting.

International experts have concluded that shared parenting can help reduce domestic violence. At the 2015 International Conference on Shared Parenting, which included about 120 research scientists and other experts from more than 20 countries, participants concluded that "…shared parenting [after parental separation or divorce] is recognized as the most effective means for both reducing high parental conflict and preventing first-time family violence."

This is in stark contrast to the practices of most family courts in the Unites States, which have assumed that shared parenting between high conflict parents after separation or divorce is dangerous and should not be tried. National Parents Organization is pleased that a handful of states -- including Missouri, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Minnesota, and South Dakota -- have implemented laws that encourage shared parenting. More than 20 states have considered similar proposals in the last year.

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Being a single parent can be a cognitive tax for very many parents and for a variety of reasons. Most people who have children have them with a partner or a spouse. It is no doubt easier to have two (or more) people raise kids together than being all alone and doing everything from pickups and snow or hurricane days to spending seventeen hours in the ER on a weeknight.

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Just as it seemed the economy was finally emerging from the grip of the great recession and salaries were rising across the board, along comes the Global Gender Gap Report from the Word Economic Forum showing that the pay gap between men and women has actually widened in the last year and, if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to reach wage parity. But one key to closing that gap is not necessarily in the office.

Begun in 2006, the WEF report studies 144 countries world wide on differences in education, economics, health, and political empowerment. Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden showed the smallest gap.” Despite its network of legal support and advocacy, the US came in at number 45 in wage parity – that’s down from number 28 in 2015. Rwanda fared better. Yemen was last.

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In recent years, shared parenting has become the talk-of-the-town in the United States. The reason? Family experts and some legislators strongly advocated that an egalitarian approach to parenting is the most ideal concept for families who are in the middle of divorce or separation.

Not only does it promotes equal sharing of parental duties and responsibilities, shared parenting is also considered the best approach and the commonsense solution as it prioritizes the well-being and best interests of both the parents and the children. Despite some skepticisms, shared parenting has become the recent trend in the United States, wherein several states including Missouri, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, Minnesota and Arizona have passed their own version of this somewhat controversial child custody concept, with more than 20 U.S. states having the same proposals.

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When a couple with children divorces or separates, the ensuing custody battle often affects more than just the immediate family. Extended family can be impacted as well – especially grandparents, who typically long to spend as much time with their grandchildren as possible.

Marian McQuade was a housewife from West Virginia who was concerned for the lonely elderly. Marian’s vision was for grandchildren to benefit from the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents, and for grandparents to have meaningful and fulfilling relationships with their grandchildren. She served on the West Virginia Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board, and she also founded National Grandparents Day in 1978.

Today, Marian's vision of meaningful and fulfilling intergenrational relationships faces a sad impediment. We at National Parents Organization of Virginia support Marian's vision and are working to help realize it the way she intended.

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Grown children leaving home is a normal human transition and one to which most parents eventually adjust.

But what happens when children are removed from their parents’ homes too soon, before either parent or child is ready – when the child is 7 instead of 17? This is the sad reality for many parents following a divorce.

Children also suffer when they’re prevented from seeing one of their parents frequently. Federal statistics show that children raised by single parents are significantly more likely to drop out of school, wind up in prison, abuse alcohol and drugs, develop psychological problems or commit suicide.

Shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after a divorce, if both parents are fit – decreases parental conflict and domestic violence while increasing child support payments, as well as voluntary payments for college.

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When an unmarried couple with children breaks up, it is often a matter of packing boxes, divvying up property, and maybe getting an order for child support from a local court.

Unlike a divorcing couple, their split is not typically guided by legal standards that dictate how much money they owe each other, or how much time they get to spend with their kids once they separate. And, particularly for unmarried fathers, that lack of legal oversight can mean a long fight for custody of their children.

States are starting to more closely examine custody arrangements for children born out of marriage, which have traditionally favored mothers, either by law or default, to give fathers a greater role in raising their children. Studies indicate that consistent paternal involvement can result in more child-support payments, and better mental health and academic results for the children.

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When an unmarried couple with children breaks up, it is often a matter of packing boxes, divvying up property, and maybe getting an order for child support from a local court.

Unlike a divorcing couple, their split is not typically guided by legal standards that dictate how much money they owe each other, or how much time they get to spend with their kids once they separate. And, particularly for unmarried fathers, that lack of legal oversight can mean a long fight for custody of their children.

States are starting to more closely examine custody arrangements for children born out of marriage, which have traditionally favored mothers, either by law or default, to give fathers a greater role in raising their children. Studies indicate that consistent paternal involvement can result in more child-support payments, and better mental health and academic results for the children.

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Nevada has moved from being among the worst states for shared parenting laws to being in the top third. Shared parenting is a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time with each parent as possible after divorce or separation if both parents are fit. It has been shown to be highly beneficial to most children. The changes in the Nevada custody law were brought about by Nevada’s Parental Rights Protection Act of 2015.

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When an unmarried couple with children breaks up, it is often a matter of packing boxes, divvying up property, and maybe getting an order for child support from a local court. 

Unlike a divorcing couple, their split is not typically guided by legal standards that dictate how much money they owe each other, or how much time they get to spend with their kids once they separate. And, particularly for unmarried fathers, that lack of legal oversight can mean a long fight for custody of their children.

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Successful divorces are not an oxymoron. Studies show they are a likely outcome when the best interests of children are the main priority for all concerned. Missouri legislators should take a bow for passing a new law that helps ensure more successful divorces by giving fathers more consideration in divorce custody decisions.

More doesn’t mean more than the mother; it simply means equal to her when it comes time for a judge to decide physical custody.

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Faune Riggin of the KZIM KSIM Morning Meeting, based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, intervewed Linda Reutzel, National Parents Organization of Missouri member, about the passage of HB 1550, Missouri's shared parenting bill, which took effect Aug. 28.

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Missouri’s new child-custody law, which takes effect today, seeks to allow children in divorce cases to have more equal time with mom and dad.

Supporters see the law as helping good fathers get more time with their children, but others question whether it will make a difference.

National Parents Organization spokesman Burton Taylor said the old law “protected inequality” in custody situations, while the new law “encourages shared custody.”

Taylor acknowledged some people going through divorce have a mistaken view of what the law will do.

“It is not a mandate,” he said. “But the sentiment of the law is to give children as close to equal time with both parents as possible.”

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The Men's Advocate Show with Linda Gross interviews Linda Reutzel, National Parents Organization of Missouri member, and Rep. Kathy Swan about Missouri's shared parenting bill, HB 1550.

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In early 2009, Scott Myers read through his finalized divorce settlement and felt like he had been the victim of a pre-planned robbery.

It wasn’t the child support, or the divvying up of the couple’s possessions. It was about the time he got with his children. It was so sparse, “I felt like a visitor and not a father.”

Although the circuit court judge in St. Charles County consented that day to joint custody of his two young daughters with his former wife, he was not granted equal time with them.

Nothing negative was brought up in court about his parenting, he said. He made it clear to his attorneys he wanted equal custody. Even so, the judge ruled for a fairly typical custody agreement: He would get the children every other weekend and four hours every Tuesday. Their mother would get the rest.

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With Missouri’s shared parenting bill signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon taking effect Aug. 28, parents and children across the state have countless reasons to celebrate.

At its core, the law just makes sense: Children need two parents, not just one, especially in instances of divorce. A growing body of evidence shows that children desperately want and need shared parenting when their parents split. Unfortunately, sole custody remains the status quo in most states, but the research suggests that children would be better off if more states followed Missouri’s lead in passing HB 1550.

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A new law, formerly known as House Bill 1550, which takes effect Sunday, August 28, could impact child custody cases in Missouri.According to Jeremy Roberts with the Missouri Fathers' Rights Movement, beginning Sunday, family courts will be required to answer eight questions to determine a custody arrangement in the best interest of the child. Questions consider which parent the child wishes to live with as well as the mental and physical health of all parties.

"Prior to this law, the courts could or could not answer those questions. This bill forces them to have to answer each one of those," Roberts said.

More than 80 percent of child custody cases in Missouri default primary custody to the child's mother, according to Linda Reutzel with the National Parents Organization of Missouri. Fathers are often granted visitation with their child one night each week and every other weekend.

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National Parents Organization (NPO) congratulates the Missouri legislature and Gov. Jay Nixon for acting in the best interest of children by signing the state’s bill promoting shared parenting into law. Previously known as HB 1550, the law “creates a more equalized approach to child custody and visitation,” according to the Governor’s office. The change, which takes effect Aug. 28, is based on the overwhelming amount of research showing shared parenting, or 50/50 custody, after divorce is most beneficial for children’s health and well-being, as well as parental and gender equality.

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National Women’s Equality Day, celebrated annually Aug. 26, was established in 1971 to honor the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

While equality for women is celebrated in this country, there are still some areas plagued with inequality. In this era of converging of gender roles, it may be surprising to learn one of those areas where inequality persists is in our family courts.

Unless they’ve been exposed to the family court system, most people are unaware a problem even exists. In fact, many people, including many of our legislators, don’t realize that the system is broken. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

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