States Honored For Helping Children and Families
Children's Rights Council
July 19, 2020
Most Innovative Law Before Marriage
legislation offering couples reduced prices for marriage licenses if they
participate in a four-hour pre-marital counseling session.Those
who take the course, which has been developed by Florida State University,
will get a $32.50 break on the cost of a marriage license, which now costs
$88.50.Although couples will have
the option of paying full price, they will not be able to merely get a
marriage license that easily.The
law requires a three-day “cooling off” period before couples who refuse
to take the course can tie the knot.
We also commend Florida for
requiring, in the same law, that divorcing couples with minor children
take a four-hour divorce education course.It
also requires that marriage and relationship skill-based education be included
in the “life management” class already taught in high school.
The Florida Marriage Preparation
and Preservation Act (741.0305) has influenced other states, such as Minnesota
and Wisconsin, to introduce similar legislation.
Best Approach During Marriage and for Divorce
for Families, Children & The Courts, of the Judicial Council of California
has a nationally recognized research program that conducts large-scale
longitudinal and representative studies on court connected mediation (conciliation),
court clients, and client feedback.These
studies, representing 14,000 clients to date, indicate that court-connected
mediation programs have grown considerably over the past 13 years and that
the large majority of clients are satisfied with the services.
law (Family Code 3170) requires that parents must go through mediation
prior to the court hearing when there is a dispute over child custody and
studies (the “Snapshot Studies”) were conducted by collecting data from
75 or more of California’s 82 branch courts and their clients.
are published about the clients’ employment, ethnicity, age, but more importantly,
they consistently indicate that court-connected mediations were productive,
covered many pertinent issues and that most clients rated the experience
Parents with child custody
and access (visitation) disputes have widespread satisfaction with the
court-connected mediation programs as alternative resolution processes
and the resulting agreements.
of the reports can be accessed through the Judicial Council’s website at
According to the American
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, distribution of marriage and
family therapists varies considerably across the states.California
has over 73 marriage and family therapists per 100,000, which surpasses
the rate in any other state. The rates range from under three per 100,000
resident population in West Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, North Dakota, Louisiana,
and Arkansas to more than 20 per 100,000 in Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, Nevada.Generally,
more states in the West and the Northeast have rates over 10 marriage and
family therapists per 100,000 population.The
national average is 17.6 marriage and family therapists per 100,000 population.
The reason why having the
most marriage and family therapists is important is that it provides more
access to professionals by married couples who want to learn how to keep
their marriages together.
In 1963, California was
the first state to license marriage and family therapists, and an extensive
infrastructure of 77 schools and universities with Marriage and Family
Conciliation Court programs has developed in the state.
"Mediation" means a process in which a neutral
person or persons facilitate communication between the disputants to assist
them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
Kansas, Wisconsin, and Connecticut: The Best
States for Shared Parenting
The best states
for shared parenting, according to the United States National Center for
Health Statistics are Montana, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Connecticut.Montana
ranked first, with a high 55.4% of separating and divorced parents having
shared parenting (physical joint custody). Kansas followed very closely
with 53.3% of shared parenting.Wisconsin
has also been successful with shared parenting with 49.1%. And lastly Connecticut
has 41.2% of shared parenting.All
four states have made major progress in ensuring that children have frequent
and continuous contact with both parents, absent a good reason not to.
(Various states percentages are given in Table 2.)
Rate Expected to Drop as Shared Parenting Increases
The states with the greatest
amount of physical joint custody in 1989 and 1990 had the greatest decline
in the divorce rate in the subsequent years 1991 through 1995, according
to CRC's analysis of data from the Census Bureau and the National
Center for Health Statistics. (See Tables 3 and
4.)CRC believes this is because
if a parent knows he or she will have to interact with the other parent
while the child is growing up, there is less incentive to divorce.
research click here.
that based on current trends, the divorce rate in the U.S. will be reduced
by 10 percent within the next 20 years.The
divorce rate, which has dipped slightly in the past few years from its
high of 50 percent of all marriages, will drop further because of the rapid
rise of shared parenting, and the greater involvement of fathers in children’s
Shared Parenting means that a child spends
at least a third of the time on a yearly basis with each parent.
Innovative Law in the Event of Separation
Oklahoma has passed a Parenting
Act that allows children to have frequent and continuous contact with both
parents from the time of the first court hearing, if either parent asks
This may be
the first time in any state that substantial time-sharing is established
from the time of the first hearing.
(H.B. 1313, passed in 1999 session) states, “It is the policy of this state
to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with
parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of their
children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities
of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved
this policy, if requested be a parent, the court shall provide substantially
equal access to the minor children to both parents at a temporary order
hearing, unless the court finds that such shared parenting would be detrimental
to such child.”