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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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This Father’s Day, National Parents Organization recognizes all dads, but in particular the forgotten single dad by advocating for shared parenting as the norm, rather than the exception, when parents divorce or separate.

“Single fathers are noticed very little even though they are big -- about 25% to 35% 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,” Dr. Ned Holstein, M.D., Founder and Board Chair ofNational Parents Organization, said. “If we want a better life for families, lawmakers in every state must reform the family courts in ways that embrace the two-parent solution of shared parenting when parents have separated. And we must take anti-father gender bias out of the courts as well.”

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Ned Holstein, founder and chairman of NPO, says the standard custody agreement is out of touch with how families have changed. Increasingly, both parents work in the paid labor force. Fathers today are more involved in daily child care than previous generations. In the past legislative session, about 20 states considered some form of shared parenting legislation, Holstein said. The issue is picking up steam in the media and state houses.

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For well over half of American families this seemingly simple decision requires more planning than one might imagine – all because the divorce court status quo results in rigid, unequal parenting arrangements.

With America’s family courts consistently ordering “primary custody” arrangements, events like “Take Your Child to Work Day” do not often make the list of things thought out ahead of time.  More than 80% of split families are ordered into primary custody arrangements – and only 30% of those have the father as primary custodian. More and more data supports the fact that shared parenting after divorce or separation benefits children the most, plus, in the past couple of years, states including South Dakota, Utah and Minnesota have joined the handful of states with laws supportive of shared parenting after divorce or separation – and numerous states have recently considered similar legislation. As a result, we must ask ourselves: What is taking the family courts in Virginia and most other states so long to catch up to modern research?

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At its core, the shared parenting bill that overwhelmingly passed the Missouri Legislature and heads to Gov. Jay Nixon is common sense: Children need two parents, not just one, especially in instances of divorce.

What’s more, HB 1550 doesn’t stop at common sense. It’s based on a growing body of evidence showing that children desperately want and need shared parenting, not the current status quo of sole custody, when their parents divorce.

Plus, this bill represents a solution for all. It doesn’t favor women. It isn’t partial to men. Instead, it’s family-friendly and encourages judges to give children what they most want and need — shared parenting. With shared parenting, the roles that mothers and fathers both play in their children’s lives receive equal respect, and rightfully so.

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Speaking of shared parenting bills and laws, Missouri is reportedly urging its governor, Jay Nixon, to sign the shared parenting bill known as, House Bill 1550, which was placed on his desk on May 25. According to Missourian, the bill aims to end the pain that Missouri's family court systems bring on broken families.

National Parents Organization member Linda Reutzel also wrote that shared parenting is not only a solution for 21st century families. She said it is also a "common sense solution" that will resolve the issues of all involved individuals such as parents and judges.

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As a mother and grandmother, I’d like to thank Rep. Jim Neely (R-Cameron) for standing up for Missouri’s children by sponsoring the shared parenting bill, and now that the state legislature has backed his proposal, it’s time for Gov. Nixon to follow suit.

I feel so strongly about this legislation, HB 1550, because I’ve felt the pain Missouri’s broken family court system inflicts on families. Children are hurting. Parents are hurting. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – everyone’s hurting. This unfortunate reality occurs because our courts continue rubber stamping the outdated primary residential custody parenting model after divorce or separation, despite an overwhelming amount of research showing children need and want equal access to both parents.

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As a mother and grandmother, I ask our governor to waste no time in standing up for Missouri children whose parents are divorced or separated by signing the shared parenting bill that overwhelmingly passed the Missouri legislature and arrived on his desk May 25.

I feel so strongly about this legislation, House Bill 1550, because I’ve felt the pain Missouri’s broken family court system inflicts on families. Children are hurting. Parents are hurting. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents — everyone’s hurting.

This unfortunate reality occurs because our courts continue rubber-stamping the outdated primary residential custody parenting model after divorce or separation, despite an overwhelming amount of research showing children need and want equal access to both parents.

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With a bill encouraging shared parenting and parental equality after divorce arriving on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk yesterday -- Wednesday, May 25 -- National Parents Organization urges the Governor to waste no time in signing the bill into law. If the Governor signs the bill, HB 1550, Missouri will join the list of states with child custody laws supportive of children experiencing the continued love and support of not just one, but both, of their parents after divorce or separation.

“Thank you, Missouri legislators, for voting to bring state child custody laws in line with the overwhelming body of research showing that most children desperately want and need shared parenting after divorce or separation,” Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization, said. “Too many families have suffered from the family courts’ outdated preference for giving sole custody to one parent. I urge Gov. Nixon to act on his historic opportunity to sign HB 1550 into law. Instead of setting up parents for a bitter and unnecessary custody battle, HB 1550 will allow families to heal from the pain of divorce and separation from a position of equality and co-parenting.”

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As a mother and grandmother, I’d like to thank Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, for standing up for Missouri’s children by sponsoring the shared parenting bill, and now that the state legislature has backed his proposal, it’s time for Gov. Nixon to follow suit.

I feel so strongly about this legislation, HB 1550, because I’ve felt the pain Missouri’s broken family court system inflicts on families. Children are hurting. Parents are hurting. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – everyone’s hurting. This unfortunate reality occurs because our courts continue rubber stamping the outdated primary residential custody parenting model after divorce or separation, despite an overwhelming amount of research showing children need and want equal access to both parents.

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