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Divorce can be one of the most stressful things a person can go through in life, and although oftentimes older kids have an easier time handling it, divorce can shake every family member up. According to a recent study, nearly 45% of marriages end in divorce, leaving quite a few kids confused and upset.

Regardless of the nature of your divorce, there are ways to help kids cope with the fact that mommy and daddy won’t be together anymore.

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For the last four years, Gilbert Tso has been fighting to prove he is a fit parent after he and his wife divorced and he began seeking custody of their daughter, but the battle over how much time each parent should get wasn’t cheap.

"We basically spent a tremendous amount of families' assets on lawyers and psychologists,” said Tso.

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National Parents Organization applauds Colorado legislators who are acting on numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have established parenting as a fundamental right and liberty interest.

Colorado legislators joined the national movement to reform the family courts and support shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after separation or divorce – with the filing of the Parent’s Bill of Rights, HB16-1110. The bill establishes parental rights as a fundamental liberty interest and a fundamental right, which encourages family courts to make shared parenting the norm when parents divorce or separate.

The move could be a significant change, considering shared parenting occurs less than 20 percent of the time after separation or divorce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Thank you, Colorado legislators, for standing up for the crucial yet all-too-often violated rights of parents,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “No loving and fit parent should ever lose the inherent right to spend significant, meaningful time with his or her child — as research, and common sense have told us many times over.”

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Maybe it's for financial reasons or personal but more and more fathers are staying home.

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With National Single Parent Day on Monday, March 21, National Parents Organization urges citizens and legislators nationwide to recognize the day by supporting shared parenting legislation in numerous states.
 
“Right now, most children of divorce have just one single parent, plus one ‘visitor.’ With shared parenting, they get not just one, but two single parents – two for the price of one,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization.

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"Whether it's trouble with the law, delinquency, dropping out of school, those problems are not getting better, they're getting worse," said Dr. Ned Holstein of the National Parents Organization. "There's now a mountain of evidence showing that children do better after the parents separate or divorce if they have both parents involved."

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The founder and board chairman of the National Parents Organization, Ned Holstein supports Scott signing the bill to become a law. He said that it will improve children's grades, decrease teen pregnancy as well as their use of alcohol and drugs.

"I don't understand why he would not sign it," he said. "What's not to like?"

Based on the research done by the US Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Justice and the Census Bureau, 90 percent of runaway and homeless youth and 71 percent of high school drop-outs were children raised by a single parent.

"What used to be taught decades ago was that kids needed one home after divorce," Holstein said. "That sounds sort of nice. But it's a slogan, and it wasn't based on research."

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It’s been about 40 years since the majority of moms stayed home, and married dads in the 21st century spend twice as much time caring for their children as they did back then.

Yet when parents divorce or separate, custody arrangements are more likely to reflect life as it was in 1975, with the mother as the primary caretaker and the father working to help support a child he seldom sees.

As fathers become more vocal about what they see as inequities in custody cases — and as more research shows how important it is for fathers to be present in their children’s lives — states are considering changing their custody laws.

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The Florida Legislature passed a bill March 8 that would make shared parenting — an arrangement in which children spend equal time with each parent after divorce — the norm in Florida, rather than sole custody.

Following passage by the Senate and House of Representatives, the bill now awaits Gov. Rick Scott’s signature.

Ned Holstein, founder and board chairman of the National Parents Organization, said he supports Scott signing the bill into law.

Shared parenting improves children’s grades, decreases their use of drugs and alcohol and reduces rates of teen pregnancy, he said.

“I don’t understand why he would not sign it,” he said. “What’s not to like?”

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A bill that would set a formula for the duration and amount of alimony and end permanent alimony was passed by the Florida Legislature and now awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature.

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Big changes to family law in Florida are just one signature away.  

A bill that would change alimony for divorcing couples is headed to Governor Rick Scott's desk after passing through the Senate last week and the House on Tuesday.

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“Thank you, Maryland lawmakers, for standing up for what children most want and need. I urge all state legislators to waste no time in moving this historic proposal forward,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “Millions of American children are suffering from the outmoded practices of the family courts of awarding custody to just one parent, with only a few days per month of parenting time with the other parent. This custody model is not in the best interest of most children. It causes heartache for children, who ardently desire the love and guidance of both parents. And such children do more poorly in school, have higher rates of substance abuse, drop out more frequently, and have higher rates of delinquency, gang activity and trouble with the law.” 

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Sole custody of children became the court's model when divorce became frequent in the 60s and 70s. In recent years, however, co-parenting has made headway as an alternative to the current model.

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"Whether it's trouble with the law, delinquency, dropping out of school, those problems are not getting better, they're getting worse," said Dr. Ned Holstein of the National Parents Organization.  "There's now a mountain of evidence showing that children do better after the parents separate or divorce if they have both parents involved."

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As a mother and grandmother, 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.

All this 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. Thankfully, Missouri legislators are currently considering legislation that aligns with research and stands to turn families' pain into joy. HB 2055, sponsored by Kathy Swan of Cape Girardeau, and SB 964, sponsored by Wayne Wallingford, also of Cape Girardeau, encourage our state's courts to award shared parenting -- a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent -- when both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence, and I urge all lawmakers to support this crucial proposal.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, say that 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; 71% of high school drop-outs; 75% of children in chemical abuse centers; and 90% of homeless and runaway children account for this.  Tune in hear what the cause is….you will be surprised.

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Most research for the last 30 years shows kids thrive when they're parented equally by both mom and dad. Yet, only 17% of American children whose parents are separated or divorced have shared parenting, according to the US Census Bureau.

When our Family 411 series last year focused on the issue of shared parenting, we got a tremendous response from parents who have children out of wedlock. Parents say the laws haven't kept up with the trends.

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Just 17% of separated parents in the United States share the parental rights. This despite overwhelming research which shows kids thrive when they're parented equally by both parents.

Iowa is one of just six states with laws on the books promoting shared parenting. But it's trickier when one of the parents live in another state. Another challenge is legal perception. When a custody battle goes before the courts, it can be hard sometimes to overcome the more traditional arrangements that judges and lawyers are used to. For more information on the issue of shared parenting, head to www.nationalparentsorganization.org

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A growing national movement seeking to force judges to award equal custody to both divorcing parents has come to Missouri, where backers of shared parenting bills in both legislative chambers say the issue is gaining traction.

Current state law requires only that judges award "significant, but not necessarily equal" periods of time with a child. A Senate bill heard in committee last week would change that to "approximate and reasonably equal" time.

Proponents of the measure argue that in cases in which both parents are equally deserving of custody, courts disproportionately award physical custody to the mother.

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A growing national movement seeking to force judges to award equal custody to both divorcing parents has come to Missouri, where backers of shared parenting bills in both legislative chambers say the issue is gaining traction.

Current state law requires only that judges award "significant, but not necessarily equal" periods of time with a child. A Senate bill heard in committee last week would change that to "approximate and reasonably equal" time.

Proponents of the measure argue that in cases in which both parents are equally deserving of custody, courts disproportionately award physical custody to the mother.

Critics counter that while shared parenting makes sense on an emotional level, many factors make laws requiring equal time impractical or even dangerous for the children.

"We are trying to change the mindset of the court," said Rep. Kathy Swan, a Cape Girardeau Republican who sponsored a duplicate shared parenting bill in her chamber. "The more time a child spends with each parent, the greater value each parent has in raising his or her child."

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A growing national movement seeking to force judges to award equal custody to both divorcing parents has come to Missouri, where backers of shared parenting bills in both legislative chambers say the issue is gaining traction.

Current state law requires only that judges award "significant, but not necessarily equal" periods of time with a child. A Senate bill heard in committee last week would change that to "approximate and reasonably equal" time.

Proponents of the measure argue that in cases in which both parents are equally deserving of custody, courts disproportionately award physical custody to the mother.

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A growing national movement seeking to force judges to award equal custody to both divorcing parents has come to Missouri, where backers of shared parenting bills in both legislative chambers say the issue is gaining traction.

Current state law requires only that judges award "significant, but not necessarily equal" periods of time with a child. A Senate bill heard in committee last week would change that to "approximate and reasonably equal" time.

Proponents of the measure argue that in cases in which both parents are equally deserving of custody, courts disproportionately award physical custody to the mother.

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A growing national movement seeking to force judges to award equal custody to both divorcing parents has come to Missouri, where backers of shared parenting bills in both legislative chambers say the issue is gaining traction.

Current state law requires only that judges award “significant, but not necessarily equal” periods of time with a child. A Senate bill heard in committee last week would change that to “approximate and reasonably equal” time.

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The National Parents Organization welcomes important breakthroughs announced at the 2015 International Conference on Shared Parenting, a conference of about 120 research scientists and other experts from over 20 countries who met in December 2015 in Bonn, Germany.
 
The Conference 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…” [material in brackets added] 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.

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