Why more fathers are getting child custody
Many parents in Orange County, California, play a crucial role in their children’s upbringing. Gender is not a question when it comes to a person’s ability to parent his or her child. As evidence to that, more and more single fathers head single-parent homes in the United States, according to a Pew Research study.
Recent figures suggest that single fathers head 8 percent of households with minor children compared with 1 percent in 1960, a nine-fold increase representing 2.6 million homes. Single-mother households, in contrast, only increased four-fold in the same period, from 1.9 million to 8.6 million.
These numbers reflect both the increasing number of parents who do not marry and the social acceptance of fathers being primary caregivers. According to the Pew study, the shift in the social acceptance of fathers parenting their children stems from the changes in the judicial system and its shifting standards in child custody cases. Historically, the term “best interests of the child” in custody litigation often means awarding custody to the mother.
Today, many state laws encourage equal parenting time, which according to an analysis, increased the number of single fathers having custody of their children.
Joint parenting both empowers divorced fathers to be more involved in their child’s upbringing and strengthens their belief that they deserve it. Equally important is the fact that divorce in theory nullifies any relationship between the married couple. In practice, joint custody can be complicated between ex-spouses who do not want to do anything with and feel animosity towards each other, meaning that a judge is left choosing the primary custodian between a mom and a dad.
Child custody is about the best interests of the child. If parents cannot find a common ground in settling child custody, a family law attorney may be able to help them choose an arrangement that will respect their child’s interests.
Source: Deseret News, “Why the number of single dads is on the rise,” Caroline Kitchener, Feb. 24, 2014