Most parents want the best for their children. However, when you are in the middle of a divorce, the ‘best’ thing for your children can be challenging to determine. For this reason, California Family Courts and lawyers use existing California laws to address child-related issues in a divorce proceeding. Groups like the National Parents Organization are dedicated to reforming child support and custody nationwide. In fact, they issue an annual report card that gives each state a grade based on how they handle parenting issues in divorce. Read on to learn more about how California fared in the most recent annual report – and why it matters.
What is the National Parents Organization?
This group is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization that bills itself as a voice for family law reform. According to the National Parents Organization’s mission statement, they focus their efforts on promoting shared parenting because the bond between children and parents is worth preserving.
The National Parents Organization, or NPO, organizes like-minded activists to work on family court reforms and advocate for children’s interests.
What is the NPO Annual Report Card?
Every year, the NPO reviews each state’s laws, statutes, and regulations regarding shared parenting as it pertains to child custody arrangements. Then, each state is given a grade from A to F. The 2019 average grade was a “C-” which was a slight increase from the 2014 average grade of D+.
What’s Behind California’s Grade?
Unfortunately, California received a “D” on the 2019 NPO annual report card. There are several reasons for the low score, including:
- A lack of statutory preference for shared parenting,
- Presumed shared parenting is also not part of the Family Code.
As a matter of fact, California family law judges are given some latitude when making child custody decisions. However, the Family Code specifically notes that decisions should be made in the best interests of the child.
What Does the Annual Report Card Mean for California parents?
When children are involved in a divorce proceeding, the law does not explicitly require judges to order shared parenting. However, it also does not specifically give preference to the mother or the father. In the best-case scenario, both parents will participate in raising and supporting their children.
Help with Your Divorce Is Available
Child custody issues can be challenging. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.