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Report: New York law doesn't support shared parenting

Most parents agree, as do many parenting experts, that it's typically best when divorced couples share in the parenting responsibilities. However, if divorcing parents aren't able to arrive at a custody and visitation agreement on their own, they have to turn to the courts.

Family court judges consider state laws when making their decisions. Some states have laws that recognize the importance of shared parenting, while others don't.

New York is in the latter category, according to a new report from the National Parents Organization (NPO). In the group's recently published 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card, New York was one of two states that received an F. (The other was Rhode Island.)

The group, which works to "promote children's well-being by making equal shared parenting the norm when parents are living apart," based its grades on each state's "statutory provisions promoting shared parenting" and the changes in those statutes made since NPO's first report card in 2014. The group is working toward having shared parenting laws in every state.

So why did New York get such a bad grade? According to NPO, there are currently "no statutory provisions that allow for shared parenting." However, that doesn't mean that judges can't order a shared parenting arrangement if they believe that's in the children's best interests.

There's more cause for hope. Despite its grade, NPO considers New York one of its "shared parenting battleground states" because 11 shared parenting bills (among the most of any state) have been introduced since NPO's 2014 report. (Rhode Island -- with whom we share our low grade -- hasn't had any.)

This is just one reason why taking part in the political process -- even if it's just voting -- at all levels is important. Our elected representatives can have a say in virtually every aspect of our lives. If you're in a custody battle, it's essential to know the law. However, your attorney can also work with you to make a strong case that will help convince a judge to rule in your favor.

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