NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new report shows that New York is failing children after divorce.
Divorce is already hard enough, but when you live in a state that doesn’t recognize shared parenting.
“When a child loses access to a parent after divorce or separation, it’s really traumatic,” said Ginger Gentile, deputy executive director of the National Parents Organization.
In a new report card issued by the National Parents Organization, each state was graded on how much its legislation encourages divorced parents to share the responsibility of raising their children with equal or close to equal parenting time.
New York failed. The Empire State and Rhode Island are the only two to receive an F.
“Not only does that cause psychological damage, which I think we all understand that happens, but there’s a lot of studies that this can cause physical damage,” Gentile said.
The organization held a press conference Wednesday, explaining that unequal time with both parents – should both parents be fit – can seriously affect a child’s well being.
Joseph Hunter, father of six, only sees his kids Monday through Wednesday after school and every other weekend. Becoming a secondary parent was never part of the plan.
“I had to fight a long time for that arrangement and depending on which kid you speak to, that’s not even enough time. Some of them may want to be with me full time,” Hunter said.
Gentile says divorces often darg on, putting stress on a child. They can also potentially add up to thousands of dollars.
“What parents can do is to work with a mediator or work with collaborative lawyers who put the kids first. Realize it’s not about winning or losing, and when you go to court, everybody loses. So if you can, stay out of court. You’re not going to find justice, just delay it,” said Gentile.
Gentile also recommends letting children know they are equally loved and not talking poorly about each other.
Moving forward, the National Parents Organization is pushed for shared parenting legislation in every state.
It hopes to make some big changes within the next five years.