State-by-State Analysis Highlights Parental Inequality Across the Nation
National Parents Organization, November 13, 2014
“National Parents Organization’s 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card is the first national study to provide a comprehensive ranking of the states on their child custody statutes, assessing them primarily on the degree to which they promote shared parenting after divorce or separation.
This study was motivated by the tremendous impact our nation’s family courts have on children whose parents are divorced or separated, and also by recent consensus statements by leading child development research organizations that confirm children thrive with shared parenting following separation or divorce.
Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 17% of children of separated or divorced parents have shared parenting, which prevents their ability to benefit equally from both parents and has a tremendous impact on their emotional, mental and physical health (see A New Look at Child Welfare: Single Parenting Versus Shared Parenting).
National Parents Organization evaluated each state’s child custody statute to instances of divorce to determine its grade (see Methodology). In 45 states, the statute also includes custody determination for nonmarital children. This is important to note because, according to recent U.S. Health and Human Services data, nearly 40% of children in our nation are born to unmarried parents.
As a result of our research, National Parents Organization found that a majority of states received poor grades on shared parenting statutes. Alaska and Arizona received the highest grades, but even they received only a B. The worst custody statutes were found in New York and Rhode Island.”
Arizona’s Parenting Guide
Note: Washington State earns a "C+" grade