North Carolina Receives A D Grade For Shared Parenting


A growing body of research indicates that the children of divorcing couples fare better when they spend time with both of their parents. Critics of current child custody laws say that decisions are made based on outdated gender stereotypes and emerging research is not taken into consideration. To see if these arguments had merit, the National Parents Organization reviewed child custody laws across the country in 2014 and gave each state a shared parenting grade. North Carolina was among 23 states that received a grade of D.

The North Carolina child custody laws were criticized by the NPO for not explicitly providing for shared parenting during temporary orders and not requiring courts to consider friendly parenting factors when awarding custody. The organization also points out that the statutes do not contain any language that encourages shared parenting.

Child custody statistics give shared custody advocates little reason to be optimistic, but the research has drawn the attention of legislators across the country. Census data reveals that more than three quarters of custodial parents are mothers, but shared parenting laws have been proposed in nearly 20 states. Among the proposed legislation is a Colorado bill calling for 50/50 parenting and a Texas bill that would make shared parenting the presumed child custody order in the state.

An experienced family law attorney will likely keep abreast of emerging developments in child custody research and may find this information useful during difficult negotiations on behalf of a client. Parents with strongly held beliefs may become more receptive to a shared parenting solution when presented with compelling evidence that such a solution would be in the best interests of their children. This kind of research also prompts frank discussions that make the additional stress and uncertain outcome of court proceedings less likely.

Source: National Parents Organization, “2014 Shared Parenting Report Card”, accessed on June 24, 2015