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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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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.

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You can’t stand your ex- spouse. The only thing you have in common is being parents to your children, right? Well, even if you don’t want to deal with your ex, Missouri law says get over it.

For the sake of your children.

The Missouri law that supports shared parenting (also called 50/50 child custody) after divorce was signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon and takes effect Aug. 28. Previously known as HB 1550, the law “creates a more equalized approach to child custody and visitation,” according to the Governor’s office.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some changes to child custody agreements will take place later this month as one of the less controversial bills from the 2016 legislative session becomes law.

HB 1550 will change shared custody agreements to encourage more shared parenting after a divorce and takes effect Aug. 28.

“Children need and benefit from having both parents actively involved in their lives,” said Rep. Kathryn Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, a supporter of the bill. “The shared parenting bill is a child-centered bill. It prohibits courts from adopting a cookie-cutter default custody order or plan.”

Under the new law, the court must consider relevant factors and enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. It also prohibits a court from presuming that one parent, based solely on his or her sex, is more qualified than the other parent to act as custodian for the child.

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On Aug. 3, the Boston Herald Drive, a Boston-based radio show hosted by Adriana Cohen and John Sapochetti, interviewed National Parents Organization founder Ned Holstein, MD, regarding shared parenting legislation in Massachusetts.

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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 wellbeing, as well as parental and gender equality.

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From birth, we are wired to seek out our parents’ voices, smells, sounds and even their very presences. National Parents Day, annually celebrated in the United States on the fourth Sunday in July and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, recognizes this unique and important relationship between children and their parents. In fact, the day was specifically established for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.”

Even reading straight from the legislation that created National Parents Day, we can see that our country’s leadership recognizes the importance of parents in children’s lives, specifically calling out our nation’s “struggles with effects of family breakdown, youth violence and a host of other critical problems.” This intrinsic need does not diminish with time – it is part of us, as human beings, to want to know both of our parents.

Therefore, it is especially sad (and surprising) to know that 86 percent of children in divorced families live primarily with one parent, with the other parent being relegated to the status of “visitor” with a cookie-cutter amount of “visitation” assigned to them. In very rare instances, it might be appropriate to limit the amount of time children see one parent; however, in the vast majority of families, both parents are “fit” caregivers, and children overwhelmingly want to maintain a relationship with both parents.

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The stresses of a divorce or separation are already physically, emotionally and psychologically hard for any parent placed under that circumstance. But in these cases, the most affected by the trauma of a failed marriage and broken family life are the children hence, several organizations are promoting shared parenting to stop the trauma brought by parental alienation.

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Missouri is one signature away from mandating shared parenting, and it would join a growing list of states looking to equalize custody for divorced parents.

Missouri's proposed legislation pushes judges to order shared parent custody arrangements and requires courts to disclose the reasoning behind any other arrangement ruled by the judge. The bill also creates parental outlines for joint custody agreements and mandates that family courts can't assume a parent is more qualified than the other parent based on gender.

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"When one party — and it's usually the mother — knows if she doesn't agree to 50/50 that she will get the bulk of the parenting time, what is to bring her to the table?" Reutzel said. "That is our system, and I'm not blaming anybody but the system."

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The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate and only received two dissenting votes in the House. Linda Reutzel, a member of the National Parents Organization of Missouri, said the bipartisan support shows the overwhelming need for this bill to become law.

"It's a mandate from our legislators telling judges and lawyers that our family court is not doing what is in the best interest of the children," she said. "Children need and want equal access to both fit and willing parents."

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When you are engrossed in a cellphone conversation while driving, you sometimes fail to see things that are right in front of your eyes – even big things, like trucks.

Today, single fathers are noticed very little even though they are big – about 25 to 35 percent of all fathers are non-custodial, or single, dads, and a tiny percentage are sole-custody parents. Even on Father’s Day, we typically imagine the standard two-parent family. Here are three things about the single dad “truck” we need to know if we want a better life for 
all our children.

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Here is a story just in time for Father’s Day that confirms the old adage that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

A recent Boston Globe article “Hillary Clinton Stands Up for Man in Child Custody Case”describes a 1978 custody case tried by Hillary Clinton in tiny Rison, Arkansas. It illustrates the political and monetary corruption of the family courts, corruption that persists to this day.

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A Fatherless Day rally will be held today at the Missouri capitol building. 

The National Parents Organization invited Governor Jay Nixon to sign Missouri's shared parenting legislation at the annual rally. 

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In 1910, Father’s Day was created as the complement to the newly founded Mother’s Day. The role of the father has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and even more since the holiday was made permanent in 1972.

Working dads who live with their kids now spend an average of three hours a day with them, and virtually all bathe, change, eat with and play with their kids every day — or at least several times a week. Altogether, fathers have more than doubled the time they spend doing chores at home and nearly tripled the time they spend with their kids, while women have increased their time spent doing paid work. Significant gender gaps remain, but when you combine paid work with household chores and child care, moms and dads put in roughly the same amount of time for their families.

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In Texas, the lead-up to Father’s Day has been filled with bad news out of the Department of Family and Protective Services. The DFPS oversees Child Protective Services, which is charged with protecting Texas’ children at risk for abuse or neglect. And CPS is an agency in crisis.

Two years ago, an independent audit by the Stephen Group found a whopping turnover rate of CPS caseworkers of 25.5 percent per year and caseworkers so burdened by paperwork that they spend barely one-fourth of their time with the kids they’re supposed to be protecting. Texas pays starting caseworkers rock-bottom rates and buries them with caseloads exceeding twice the industry standards. No wonder so many leave.

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