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Missouri is the most recent state considering a change the way courts look at parental custody for kids. At the Capitol, legislation is bring proposed that would make shared parenting the norm for families in joint custody cases.

Right now, when courts look at divorce or separation  cases, a decision as to who will have primary custody of the child is usually made. However, with recently published research showing that shared custody results in positive effects for child development and child-parent relationships, more states are revisiting these standards.

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A bill being heard this week by a Missouri legislative committee promotes shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after separation or divorce.

The legislation proposes adding language to the state’s child custody law to emphasize that the best interest of the child is equal access to both parents – a change that would encourage judges to pay more attention to research on the best interest of children.

Dr. Ned Holstein, president of the National Parents Organization, says numerous studies have shown in recent years that children do not fare as well in “sole custody” or “primary custody” arrangements and that shared custody needs to be emphasized whenever it is possible.

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When Terry or Charlie Baton play a sport or have a parent-teacher conference or band concern, they know their four parents will be there. The teenage boys live in two homes about 50-50. And they are, say mom Amanda Davis and dad Shane Baton, about the best-adjusted children of divorce around.

"We agreed when we got divorced that the kids come first," said Davis.

"We divorced each other, not them," added Baton.

Davis and Baton are almost seven years into shared parenting in the wake of divorce, which makes them both trendy and unusual. Shared parenting is growing in popularity — several states already have laws creating a presumption that children will be raised by both parents post-breakup, and 20 state legislatures considered such laws last year, with varying results, although a presumption of shared parenting is very rare. Only 17 percent of custody cases result in shared parenting, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Recently, several research groups have endorsed shared parenting, which is not exactly synonymous with joint custody, since that can be legal or physical or both, said Ned Holstein, founder and acting executive director of the National Parents Organization, which vocally supports the practice. With shared parenting, children live atleast30 percent of the time with each parent.Decision-makingismoreequalthanwhenoneparent has legal or physical custody, too.

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National Parents Organization welcomes the stunning news that the Council of Italian Bishops (Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, or CEI) has endorsed shared parenting after divorce or separation, based on a full-page spread that appeared in its official newspaper, Avvenire ("Future") on the Sunday before Christmas. The article was written by the Chief Editor of Avvenire, Luciano Moia. The article urges family courts to not only state support for shared parenting, but to also ensure the arrangement actually occurs in practice. Also, the article was supportive of legislative efforts that encourage shared parenting.

"This article follows a series of statements by Pope Francis over the last year emphasizing the critical importance of two parents for children, and specifically of the father, because of the problem of fatherlessness," said Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. "This is an additional reason to believe that the December 20, 2015 article in Avvenire reflects the vision of the Pope. Given the historical reluctance of the Church to involve itself in matters of divorce, this is a striking development."

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National Parents Organization welcomes the stunning news that the Council of Italian Bishops (Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, or CEI) has endorsed shared parenting after divorce or separation, based on a full-page spread that appeared in its official newspaper,Avvenire ("Future") on the Sunday before Christmas. The article was written by the Chief Editor of Avvenire, Luciano Moia. The article urges family courts to not only state support for shared parenting, but to also ensure the arrangement actually occurs in practice. Also, the article was supportive of legislative efforts that encourage shared parenting.

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It started months ago — the positioning, the “talk,” the traveling around the country to small towns and big cities and everywhere in between, speaking at town hall meetings, through cellphone video sound bites or via super-efficient 140-character tweets.

What presidential candidates actually are talking about and what they should be talking about are two very different things. One of the largely overlooked key issues for not only Virginia families but also mothers, fathers and children throughout the nation is improving the well-being of our children when parents divorce or separate.

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Noncustodial parents may soon be able to spend more time with their children in light of recent consideration, on the part of almost two dozen states, of a reform of child custody law that would involve shared custody of children following divorce or separation.

A press release from the National Parents Organization (NPO), which supports shared parenting in divorce, said that the states that are contemplating a reform of parental laws may give children what they really want and need, which is an equal amount of time with each parent in cases of divorce or separation.

The NPO wishes people to think about the gender inequality that is present in the family courts, and to press for change so that fathers can have equal time with their children. According to the Wall Street Journal, the majority of the suggestions for reform are recommending that judges carry out schedules that give both parents the greatest amount of time with their children. Some proposals, such as those in New York and Washington state, would mandate equal time for each parent except in cases where there is evidence to suggest that such a custody agreement would not be in the best interests of the child.

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Holidays can be stressful with so many things to do ... gifts to be purchased, parties to plan, and holiday themed events ...things can get pretty busy for most families. It can be even more stressful if parents are divorced, and trying to figure out ways to share the children for the holidays.

The National Parents Organization states that, with nearly half of marriages ending in divorce, there has been a reform effort by the family court system to ensure parental equality and shared parenting. this would leave neither parent in the position to be "pigeonholed" as the primary care giver, or bread winner, following divorce or separation.

Rather, they would share the responsibility of raising their children, following a divorce or separation.

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In 2014, Virginia was home to 552,000 children living in split homes. This number amounts to 31 percent of all of Virginia’s children — a percentage that is greater than the rate in 38 other states. While we may not be able to have an impact on parents’ decisions to split or stay together, we absolutely can affect what is in the best interest of the children in those split homes.

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National Parents Organization is pleased to announce that its Founder and Board Chair, Dr. Ned Holstein, has been selected to speak at the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2015 in Bonn, Germany, Dec. 9-11.

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National Parents Organization is pleased to announce that its Founder and Board Chair, Dr. Ned Holstein, has been selected to speak at the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2015 in Bonn, Germany, Dec. 9-11.

The second annual conference, hosted by the International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP), will feature research scientists and experts from the family professions and civil society throughout the world. The experts will gather at the Gustav-Stresemann-Institut (GSI) in Bonn to present their research and discuss best practices for legislative and psycho-social implementation of shared parenting as a viable and beneficial solution for children whose parents are living apart.

Dr. Holstein, who serves on the Board of Directors of the ICSP, will present at 12 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, during a session titled, "Implementation of Shared Parenting in Different Legal Systems." During his presentation, Dr. Holstein will share data on whether shared parenting undermines the legal concept of "best interest of the child," as is often claimed by its opponents.

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National Parents Organization is pleased to announce that its Founder and Board Chair, Dr. Ned Holstein, has been selected to speak at the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2015 in Bonn, Germany, Dec. 9-11.

The second annual conference, hosted by the International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP), will feature research scientists and experts from the family professions and civil society throughout the world. The experts will gather at the Gustav-Stresemann-Institut (GSI) in Bonn to present their research and discuss best practices for legislative and psycho-social implementation of shared parenting as a viable and beneficial solution for children whose parents are living apart.

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National Parents Organization is pleased to announce that its Founder and Board Chair, Dr. Ned Holstein, has been selected to speak at the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2015 in Bonn, Germany, Dec. 9-11.

The second annual conference, hosted by the International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP), will feature research scientists and experts from the family professions and civil society throughout the world. The experts will gather at the Gustav-Stresemann-Institut (GSI) in Bonn to present their research and discuss best practices for legislative and psycho-social implementation of shared parenting as a viable and beneficial solution for children whose parents are living apart.

Dr. Holstein, who serves on the Board of Directors of the ICSP, will present at 12 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, during a session titled, "Implementation of Shared Parenting in Different Legal Systems." During his presentation, Dr. Holstein will share data on whether shared parenting undermines the legal concept of "best interest of the child," as is often claimed by its opponents.

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A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature (SB834 and HB1207) urges Massachusetts courts to act in the best interest of children by ordering shared parenting for children in most cases after parents separate or divorce. The legislation proposes a significant change, because, contrary to popular belief, most divorces currently result in sole physical custody to one parent. The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary, which includes Senator Cynthia S. Creem, D-Newton, will have an important vote on this bill very soon.

Like all great ideas – all people are created equal, freedom of speech, gender equality – the shared parenting idea is simple. Children love both parents, learn from both parents, are protected by both parents, and long for both parents. Plus, research shows that shared parenting is in the best interest of children in most cases, so our courts should allow them to have both parents in most cases after separation or divorce.

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It started months ago: the positioning, the “talk,” the traveling around the country to small towns and big cities and everywhere in between, speaking at town hall meetings, through cellphone video sound bites, or via super-efficient 140-character tweets.

What presidential candidates actually are talking about and what they should be talking about are two very different things.  Certainly, any polls would show that big issues are being missed by all candidates on both sides of the aisle.  One of those largely overlooked key issues for not only Virginia families but also mothers, fathers and children throughout the nation is improving the well-being of our children when parents divorce or separate. Considering nearly 20 states this year proposed child custody law changes that support shared parenting, rather than sole custody, after divorce, it’s time Presidential candidates join the effort to bring family court reform to the forefront.

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Legislation designed to add a presumption to custody disputes that joint physical custody with equal parenting time is in the best interest of the child has been introduced in various forms over the years but has never gained much traction in the General Assembly. But shared parenting proponents are once again advocating for change and hope

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“Our family courts continue to incentivize divorce in custody battles by routinely positioning one parent as the winner – the one who receives more time with the children and carries more financial support – while the other parent falls into a role of visitor in the child's life,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. "If both parents were facing a reality in which they each equally share child rearing following a divorce – both in terms of time and financial support – more parents would be encouraged to preserve the marriage and share the responsibilities of the family."

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With nearly half of marriages ending in divorce, we here in the Working Dad corner join the National Parents Organization in encouraging state legislatures to explore family court reform as a proven solution to curbing a national trend that continues to have a devastating impact on our modern families.

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Recently, I got an interesting press release from the National Parents Organization, which said the organization believes “... that a powerful measure to reduce the number of mass shootings is going unexplored.”

That sentence caught my attention and I read on: According to the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, “The most reliable indicator of violent crime in a community is the proportion of fatherless families. Fatherless families, in turn, are caused in part by family courts that exclude fathers from post-divorce parenting. By instituting shared parenting after divorce or separation, fathers would be allowed to continue to show their sons the right way to grow into manhood.”

It has always baffled me that the bulk of the parenting seems to be placed on the mother whenever there is a divorce or separation. Many women who go through this trying time, must raise their children with a cut in income and/or a change in their lifestyle. Many, who had never worked outside the home, find themselves in the job market when often their only skills have been as stay-at-home moms. It is a rude awakening when this happens to a family — especially where there are male children involved.

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A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature (SB834 and HB1207) urges Massachusetts courts to act in the best interest of children by ordering shared parenting for children in most cases after parents separate or divorce. The legislation proposes a significant change, because, contrary to popular belief, most divorces currently result in sole physical custody to one parent. Local state Rep. Carole Fiola, D-Fall River, should be applauded for co-sponsoring the bill, and legislators on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will have an important vote on this bill very soon.

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A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature (SB834 and HB1207) urges Massachusetts courts to act in the best interest of children by ordering shared parenting for children in most cases after parents separate or divorce. The legislation proposes a significant change, because, contrary to popular belief, most divorces currently result in sole physical custody to one parent. Local state Rep. Carole Fiola, D-Fall River, should be applauded for co-sponsoring the bill, and legislators on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will have an important vote on this bill very soon.

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A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature (SB834 and HB1207) urges Massachusetts courts to act in the best interest of children by ordering shared parenting for children in most cases after parents separate or divorce. The legislation proposes a significant change, because, contrary to popular belief, most divorces currently result in sole physical custody to one parent. Local state Rep. Carole Fiola, D-Fall River, should be applauded for co-sponsoring the bill, and legislators on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will have an important vote on this bill very soon.

Like all great ideas — all people are created equal, freedom of speech, gender equality — the shared parenting idea is simple. Children love both parents, learn from both parents, are protected by both parents, and long for both parents. Plus, research shows that shared parenting is in the best interest of children in most cases, so our courts should allow them to have both parents in most cases after separation or divorce.

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A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature (SB834 and HB1207) urges Massachusetts courts to act in the best interest of children by ordering shared parenting for children in most cases after parents separate or divorce. The legislation proposes a significant change, because, contrary to popular belief, most divorces currently result in sole physical custody to one parent. Local state Senator Richard Ross – a co-sponsor of the bill – serves on the Judiciary Committee and will have an important vote on this bill very soon.

Like all great ideas – all people are created equal, freedom of speech, gender equality – the shared parenting idea is simple. Children love both parents, learn from both parents, are protected by both parents, and long for both parents. Plus, research shows that shared parenting is in the best interest of children in most cases, so our courts should allow them to have both parents in most cases after separation or divorce.

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A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature (SB834 and HB1207) urges Massachusetts courts to act in the best interest of children by ordering shared parenting for children in most cases after parents separate or divorce. The legislation proposes a significant change, because, contrary to popular belief, most divorces currently result in sole physical custody to one parent. Local state Rep. Carole Fiola, D-Fall River, should be applauded for co-sponsoring the bill, and legislators on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will have an important vote on this bill very soon.

Like all great ideas — all people are created equal, freedom of speech, gender equality — the shared parenting idea is simple. Children love both parents, learn from both parents, are protected by both parents, and long for both parents. Plus, research shows that shared parenting is in the best interest of children in most cases, so our courts should allow them to have both parents in most cases after separation or divorce.

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