Twenty Five States Consider Shared Parenting Bills in 2017

Half the state houses across the United States are considering a move to Shared Parenting as Lawmakers have filed bills in twenty five states. 

Support for a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting has been growing in recent years. After Arizona’s successful move to Shared Parenting in 2012 — attorneys now tell fathers they have a 90% chance their children will be awarded equal time with both parents, and Judges feel the new statute is working well—additional states have followed suit. As expected, language varies between bills, with some calling for 50/50 equal parenting and others calling for a minimum of 35% of the child’s time to be awarded to both parents with the remainder to be crafted according to family circumstances.

Bills have been filed in:

        Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  

A page, containing links to the language in all the bills, their sponsors, and their sponsors contact information is available at the Leading Women for Shared Parenting (LW4SP) website.

While bills have not yet been filed in Massachusetts, Michigan or Wisconsin, the legislative calendar in these states is unusual and LW4SP is confident bills are forthcoming.

Despite Shared Parenting being equally supported by Liberals and Conservatives in the populace, in continuation of the trend of 2016, a partisan divide emerges when Shared Parenting enters the political realm. Republicans are sponsoring 22 bills and Democrats are sponsoring 4. (There are 26 bills in the 25 states as Connecticut filed two bills in the House).  The North Dakota bill sponsored by Republican Tom Kading, passed earlier this week on a 71 to 21 vote

Molly Olson, President of Leading Women for Shared Parenting stated:

“As researchers and advocates have worked tirelessly to educate Legislators on the overwhelming research supporting that shared parenting is best for children, they are taking action for the families in their state.  There’s now no denying that Shared Parenting has become a national issue in the United States and we’re working actively with bill sponsors across the country.  We’re looking forward to producing better outcomes for children.”

Opposition to Shared Parenting comes primarily from State Bar Associations, whose members have an undeniable financial incentive towards conflict.  In 2012, the Nebraska Bar Association was sued over its actions in opposition to shared parenting, resulting in its dues being reduced, requiring the elimination of staff, subleasing of office space and cutbacks in travel and elimination of events.  In 2014, the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) was sued over its actions in opposition to shared parenting, involving the misuse of $50,000 in mandatory Bar Association dues.  Its spokesperson argued they were spending money to oppose shared parenting so its members could be in court less and make less money.  SBAND later admitted to the violations and was forced to make significant changes to its operations.  In 2016, the Florida Bar Association spent $105,000 on “emergency lobbyists” to obtain Governor Scott’s veto of a Shared Parenting bill.  A freedom of information act request exposed the Florida Bar discussing how to approach Governor Scott; “the best will be non-lawyers reaching out to him. We could also send emails from our personal email addresses”

Shared Parenting bills are necessary as:

Fatherlessness is a top social issue in America and is linked to every major social pathology in children.

- Using the low estimate, US Family courts create a fatherless child every 60 seconds

- Shared Parenting is continually supported by 70% of the population with no difference in the opinion of men and women.

- Shared Parenting is supported by 43 peer reviewed papers as best for children

- Shared Parenting is supported by 110 world experts as producing the best outcome for children

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

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

- Americans believe the top groups discriminated against in US Courts are; The Poor, African Americans, and Divorced Fathers

Leading Women for Shared Parenting is thrilled to see Shared Parenting receiving such attention across the United States and will work diligently to ensure the voices of the world’s top researchers on child custody, child development, child attachment, conflict and domestic violence are heard over the typical opponents to reform, the state Bar Associations whose membership benefits from induced conflict. 

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