Even in Legislative “Short Session” – Number of States Pursuing Shared Parenting Remains Strong

Legislatures across the US alternate between “regular” and “short” sessions with the latter curtailed by upcoming elections.  Further impacting the number of bills introduced is that four US states, North Dakota, Texas, Montana and Nevada, host bi-annual sessions, meeting only once every other year. 

With the 2018 legislative session being shortened and several states with a strong interest in shared parenting not meeting at all, one might expect the number of bills being considered in 2018 to be lower, perhaps even significantly. 

Leading Women for Shared Parenting has now completed its review of statehouses across the US and has identified twenty states considering Shared Parenting Bills in the 2018 legislative session.

Further, five states (Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Minnesota and Illinois) have introduced new bills, meaning in the past 2 legislative sessions, 30 US States have considered a legislative change to Shared Parenting. 

With 110 world experts having endorsed shared parenting, and having recently updated their findings, it remains the best outcome for children.  Dr. Linda Nielson has also updated her review of the 60 studies available in English speaking journals and summarized:

“In sum, independent of family income or parental conflict, Joint Physical Custody is generally linked to better outcomes for children.”  


· Shared Parenting is popular, achieving 70+% favorability in repeated polling & voting results.

· Shared Parenting improves children's relationships with both their mothers and their fathers.

· Shared Parenting reduces stress on children.

· Shared Parenting was the recommendation of the largest study of children post separation or divorce, which reviewed 150,000 kids

As Fatherlessness is a growing epidemic and Family Courts are a very significant contributor, more elected officials are opposing their state Bar Association and joining the push to have their state enact what both current research and experts say is best for children. 

States considering Bills in 2018 include:

1.      Kansas

2.      Missouri

3.      New York

4.      Vermont

5.      Michigan

6.      New Jersey

7.      New Hampshire

8.      West Virginia

9.      South Carolina

10.   Connecticut

11.   Alabama

12.   Massachusetts

13.   Minnesota

14.   Illinois

15.   Maryland

16.   Iowa

17.   South Dakota

18.   Wisconsin

19.   Washington, and

20.   North Carolina

A full listing of bills, including links to the proposed language, a listing of bill sponsors and their associated party is available here.

Additionally, LW4SP both hopes and expects shared parenting to be presented in Canada in 2018 and looks forward to advocating for the enactment of this legislation.

For additional analysis, research, articles and other information on why shared parenting after divorce or separation is best for children, families and society, please visit www.lw4sp.org.

For media inquiries, please contact: lloftis@lw4sp.org or tbrennan@lw4sp.org