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Sole Custody is Outdated — How Shared Parenting is Going Mainstream
Episode 830th April 2021 • Divorce, Healthy! • Attorney/Author Ashley-Nicole Russell
00:00:00 00:43:52

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Divorce lawyers traditionally advised their clients to fight for sole custody of children, especially when their client was the mother. It’s time to put that tradition behind us.

On this episode of Divorce, Healthy!, National Parents Organization (NPO) board members Matt Hale and Don Hubin, as well as family lawyer and children’s book author Kelly Chang Rickert, talk about the benefits of shared parenting.

The NPO is responsible for issuing a state-by-state report card for the nation’s first comprehensive review of child custody statutes as they relate to shared parenting. When Matt Hale began the Kentucky chapter, the state had a low rating for child custody laws.

But in 2017, Kentucky passed House Bill 492, the Equal Parenting Presumption During Temporary Orders. The next year, in 2018, it passed the Equal Parenting Presumption for Final Orders, which mandates that shared parenting is the gold standard for a child's best interest. Thanks to these efforts, the state now recognizes and celebrates Shared Parenting Day each year.

It was NPO President Don Hubin who advised Matt on his dealings with the Kentucky legislature.

“NPO is child-focused and research-based. We're trying to improve the system. We're trying to reduce the contentiousness of divorce,” Don says. In fact, the organization has more than 40 years of research to support their argument for shared parenting.

Kelly Chang Rickert also has years of research and experience in her wheelhouse as a family law expert. Her passion even inspired her to write a children’s book, “Two Adventures with Mom and Dad,” which encourages shared parenting.

Tune in to this episode of Divorce! Healthy with Ashley-Nicole Russell, Collaborative Attorney serving Beaufort, Raleigh, and Greenville, NC, to hear about the importance of shared parenting.


💡 Featured Guests 💡

Name: Matt Hale

What he does: Matt is the founder of the Kentucky chapter of National Parents Organization (NPO). He spearheaded the state’s legislative rulings calling for shared parenting as the new gold standard. 

Words of wisdom: “I just want to help other families get shared parenting because it's good for parents, it's good for kids, and it's good for society.”


Name: Don Hubin

What he does: Don is the President of the National Parents Organization (NPO), which strives to protect every child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce.

Words of wisdom: “Competent, loving parents should not have to go through a court battle to continue to be fully involved in their children's lives.”

Connect: LinkedIn


Name: Kelly Chang Rickert 

What she does: Kelly has been practicing law for over 20 years and is the founder of the Law and Mediation Offices of Kelly Chang, APLC, a law firm dedicated to family law. She also wrote the children’s book, “Two Adventures with Mom and Dad,” to help explain divorce and shared parenting to kids.  

Words of wisdom: “If both parents are wanting custody, we should work out a parenting plan.” 

Connect: Website | LinkedIn


🗝️ Key Points 🗝️

Top takeaways from this Divorce, Healthy! episode

★    Legislation must change. The NPO is striving to change legislation in all 50 states to equalize parental rights and guarantee that every child has the right to love and care from both parents.

★    Shared parenting benefits everyone. Research has proven time and again that children do much better and are significantly happier when their parents are equally involved. Shared parenting also allows both parents to pursue their own careers and endeavors when they know they have the help and support of their child’s other parent.

★    Be careful who you hire. Divorce lawyers are not meant to destroy your spouse. Make sure you hire someone for the right reasons, so that you remain in control of all big decisions. 


⚡ Episode Insights ⚡

[03:07] Toxic fallout: Matt explains how shared parenting avoids toxic fallout, which is the phenomenon that occurs when a couple’s contentious divorce affects businesses and other people in their community. Shared parenting offers the best potential outcomes for all parties involved.

[03:34] Slow and steady: Changing legislation is an uphill battle. Matt delineates how he led the battle for Kentucky’s shared parenting and permanent orders by starting with temporary orders.

[07:11] Helping others: Don discusses his personal experience in divorce court and how the system’s status quo threatens families.

[10:47] Proof is in the pudding: Don explains how NPO has more than 40 years of social science research that proves children do best when both parents are actively and equally involved in their lives.

[12:08] Unifying issue: The legislative switch to shared parenting has enormous support among Americans, cutting across most demographic divides, including age, ethnicity, race, income, educational level, political affiliation, and gender.

[17:46] State report cards: The NPO is responsible for issuing a state-by-state report card for the nation’s first comprehensive review of child custody statutes as they relate to shared parenting.

[25:24] Seeking allies: Don explains NPO’s successful partnership with Arkansas’ Advocates for Parental Equality, a state-specific group of parents who support shared parenting and equal parental rights.

[31:50] Misconceptions of divorce: Family lawyer Kelly discusses the common misconception that when people go through a divorce, they should fight for custody of their children.

[38:53] Hire the right lawyer: Kelly discusses the importance of choosing the right divorce lawyer for you and your own wants and needs.

[42:48] Children’s resources: Understanding the difficulty of explaining divorce to kids, Kelly shares about her children’s book “Two Adventures with Mom and Dad” as a great place to start.

Related Resources

❖   Arkansas Equal Parenting Law (spearheaded by Arkansas Advocates for Parental Equality)

❖   NPO Shared Parenting Polling

❖   NPO-Sponsored Shared Parenting Conference Videos

❖   NPO Featured Articles on Share Parenting

❖   Shared Parenting Day Celebration


Connect with ANR Law

To inquire about speaking engagements, purchase your copy of Ashley-Nicole’s book “The Cure for Divorce Culture,” or to schedule your private orientation meeting, head to

You can also find us on social media @ANRLaw.

⭐ Divorce Lawyer Ashley-Nicole Russell has law offices serving clients in Greenville, Raleigh, and Beaufort, North Carolina.

Find a better way forward, right here, on Divorce, Healthy! Subscribe in your preferred podcast app.



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