Being a single parent is stressful. Not only is it hard, but according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by a single parent are more likely to commit suicide, end up in prison, drop out of high school, run away from home, abuse alcohol and drugs, become pregnant as a teen, as well as several other troubling issues. As a result of these findings, 17 states are stepping up and considering shared parenting legislation. If passed, these laws would do away with many sole custody rulings, and likely benefit the children involved.

Currently, courts typically award sole custody to one parent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 83% of cases are done this way. This creates a single parent and a “visitor” parent. This oftentimes leads to custody battles between the parents. While a shared parenting plan may require some work to figure out initially, child development researchers stress that children want shared parenting and do much better if they have it.

Not only do children of all ages tend to do better with shared parenting plans, research shows that shared parenting significantly increases child support compliance and reduces fighting and domestic violence between parents. A shared parenting plan also makes it possible for both parents to pursue their careers and social lives while sharing in the duties of raising a child.

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