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Virginia is among the growing list of states considering legislation to enact shared parenting - a flexible arrangement that gives children approximately 35-50 percent of time with each parent – after divorce. The bill is set to hit the Senate floor any day now, and Christian Paasch, founder of the Virginia Chapter of the National Parents Organization, discussed what this could mean for local families.

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Ned Holstein, founder and board chair of the National Parents Organization, joins the show to discuss how many of those who commit murder in mass shootings come from fatherless homes.

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As our nation mourns the lives lost in the Florida mass shooting, the dialogue again turns into a conversation on the causes of this latest tragedy. Gun regulations, mental health issues and the FBI’s failure to follow up on concerns dominate headlines.

That said, there is a significant underlying and common thread connecting these shooters that continues to be overlooked — fatherless children. While there are special interests that defend the status quo in family court proceedings, the truth is that 80 percent of child custody cases result in one parent having primary custody and the other — most commonly the father — relegated to the role of visitor in his child’s life.

Fortunately, Kansas and Missouri legislators are considering shared parenting legislation — Kansas Senate Bill 257 and Missouri Senate Bill 645 — that would make certain children impacted by divorce do not lose the important bonds they have with both parents.

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The founder of the National Parents Organization has told RT that special interests in the law industry are blocking reforms that would give fathers more rights to see their children following divorce.There are over one million divorces every year in the United States. The system for dealing with family break-ups was introduced by President Gerald Ford in 1975. It was designed to punish men who did not want to be responsible for their children, not fathers who wanted to play an active role in their child's life.

Courts rule in favor of mothers in five out of every six custodial hearings. Statistics also show that custodial mothers are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as custodial fathers.

Dr. Ned Holstein, the founder of the National Parents Organization, which promotes shared parenting legislation, argues that the legal establishment is preventing reform.

“This is a classic case of special interests versus what the public generally believes,” he said to Manila Chan of RT America.

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Missouri legislators are considering two proposals encouraging shared parenting when parents divorce or separate: Senate Bill 645 and House Bill 1667.

The House bill unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week, and after three years of educating legislators about the benefits of shared parenting, including passage of a new state law in 2016, we feel this is the year that a “rebuttable presumption” of equal parenting time can actually be passed into law.

Essentially, the proposal translates into starting the family court conversation at shared parenting, versus the sole custody status quo. The bottom line: Research overwhelmingly points to shared parenting as the best scenario for children, their families and society after divorce or separation, and this proposal seeks to align our laws with scientific evidence.

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The Massachusetts Legislature’s sweeping reform of the criminal statutes does well to focus on the prevention of crime, but it lacks a simple measure proven to decrease crime: shared parenting, versus sole custody, after parents divorce.

In the spring of 2016, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a shared parenting bill written by a blue-ribbon Task Force appointed by former Governor Deval Patrick, but the Senate did not act on the bill before the Legislature adjourned. We can help solve our high crime rates with shared parenting. We have known this for years, but have not acted – so Massachusetts lawmakers should enact the Task Force’s bill now.

This may seem like a different matter altogether. But to understand the connection between divorce law and crime, first examine a straightforward fact – 85 percent of prisoners were raised in single-parent households without fathers. There is abundant evidence supporting the idea that fatherlessness is a potent cause of crime. People who have grown up in high crime neighborhoods know this well. Denzel Washington, for instance, just reminded us of the crisis of fatherlessness as the root cause of crime in his childhood neighborhoods.

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A new bill at the state capitol could impact the way custody is decided in divorce proceedings.

“It’s absolutely soul crushing to have all those moments lost with my kids, ” explained Ron Holm of Kansas City, Kansas.

Holm said his divorce is why he is hoping for change.

“I went from being a stay at home parent to every other weekend and Wednesday night,” added Holm.

Holm works for the National Parents Organization-Kansas Chapter. The group is pushing for changes in the way custody is given during divorce cases.

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Proponents stood up and gave testimony in favor of the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee to bring the state more in line with 50/50 parenting after a divorce.

"For a year, I tried to fight to get into a courtroom to be able to explain my and be able to see my again. For a year, I watched my kids fade from my life," said one father Paul Swaneson.

Members of the National Parents Organization said clear and convincing evidence should be the standard in all custody cases before judges, and say nearly equal time with parents is in the best interest for children.

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Divorced parents spoke Tuesday at state capitols in Kansas and Missouri, sharing the benefits of equal time with their kids. Moms and dads are hoping to change the laws in custody decisions.

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Divorcing parents who don’t agree on custody would share time with children equally by default – unless a court finds clear evidence that they shouldn’t – under a Kansas bill.

Similar measures are cropping up in states across the country as part of a push to promote involvement by fathers and co-parenting.

Proponents say the measures are better for children. They point to research showing benefits for children raised by two parents. But critics contend creating a presumption of equal time discourages parents from reaching their own agreement.

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Divorcing parents who don’t agree on custody would share time with children equally by default – unless a court finds clear evidence that they shouldn’t – under a Kansas bill.

Similar measures are cropping up in states across the country as part of a push to promote involvement by fathers and co-parenting.

Proponents say the measures are better for children. They point to research showing benefits for children raised by two parents. But critics contend creating a presumption of equal time discourages parents from reaching their own agreement.

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The commonwealth is at a crossroads. It is a crossroads of opportunity, truth, and what’s actually best for children and families, intact or divorced/separated. Shared parenting (or shared/joint physical custody) has been presented to Virginia’s General Assembly several times over the past decade, but never has it been more timely.

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Maryland family courtrooms could become a happier place for Maryland children – if state lawmakers act on an opportunity to reform child custody laws. As a recent Washington Post editorial highlighted, Maryland lawmakers are considering recommendations from a special commission that studied child custody decisions.

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The chance to brighten the lives of children through reform of custody laws has rightly become a major issue in Maryland.

As a recent Washington Post editorial highlighted, Maryland lawmakers are considering recommendations from a special commission that studied child custody decisions.

The news hits at a time when, according to a Post article, 25 states have considered laws supportive of shared parenting after divorce in the past year. Plus, a handful of states have passed such laws in the past, and several others have come very close to doing so.

This ferment is due to the little-known fact that the family courts in most states still create custody battles in which the victorious parent becomes the “custodial” parent, and the loser becomes the every-other-weekend parent.

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Being cared for and loved by two parents is the optimum situation for any child. In fact, it should be every child's right. Unfortunately, many states in the U.S. fall short of protecting the rights of American children when parents divorce.

Surprisingly, not one state in the union was able to pass with flying colors, Massachusetts earning a mediocre C-plus from The National Parents Organization when it considered the status of how and when marital children of divorce are allocated time spent with both parents. New York, received an F, with no statutes in place for encouraging shared parenting, relying instead on the less powerful legal precedent of Braiman vs. Braiman.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates, once was a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

Now lawmakers are accelerating this trend toward co-parenting, with legislatures in more than 20 states considering bills this year that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption — even when parents disagree.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates, once was a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

Now lawmakers are accelerating this trend toward co-parenting, with legislatures in more than 20 states considering bills this year that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption — even when parents disagree.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates,was once a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

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National Parents Organization thanks The Washington Post for shining a light on efforts to move shared parenting from the exception to the norm following divorce and separation, and encourages lawmakers throughout the nation to support the trend.

The Post’s Dec. 12 front page article, headlined “More than 20 states in 2017 considered laws to promote shared custody of children after divorce,” revealed about half our nation’s state legislatures this year have considered bills supportive of shared parenting, rather than the sole custody status quo. The Post included a map showing the 25 states that have considered proposals. A handful of states already have laws supportive of shared parenting.

“Many of the legislative gains recently have been propelled by the National Parents Organization, a group with roots in the fathers’ rights movement but now a broadened focus on children’s rights and parental equality,” the article said.

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The legal push for custody arrangements is in large part a result of years of lobbying by fathers' rights advocates who feel alienated from their children and burdened by child-support obligations. These groups, including the National Parents Organization, are gaining new traction with support from across the political spectrum, as more lawmakers respond to this appeal for gender equality and, among some conservatives, the frustration of a newly emboldened constituency of men who say they are being shortchanged.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates,was once a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

Now lawmakers are accelerating this trend toward co-parenting, with legislatures in more than 20 states considering bills this year that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption – even when parents disagree.

Kentucky this year passed a law to make joint physical custody and equal parenting time standard for temporary orders while a divorce is being finalized. Florida’s legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill last year to presume equal time for child custody plans, but it was vetoed by the governor. And in Michigan, lawmakers are considering a bill that would make equal parenting time the starting point for custody decisions.

The legal push for custody arrangements is in large part a result of years of lobbying by fathers’ rights advocates who feel alienated from their children and burdened by child-support obligations. These groups, including the National Parents Organization, are gaining new traction with support from across the political spectrum, as more lawmakers respond to this appeal for gender equality and, among some conservatives, the frustration of a newly emboldened constituency of men who say they are being shortchanged.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates, was once a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

Now lawmakers are accelerating this trend toward co-parenting, with legislatures in more than 20 states this year considering bills that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption — even when parents disagree.

Many of the legislative gains recently have been propelled by the National Parents Organization, a group with roots in the fathers’ rights movement but now a broadened focus on children’s rights and parental equality. 

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