Shared custody laws and the rise of single fathers empower dads

We have discussed before the shift toward shared custody that several states, and many courts, are beginning to implement. In an area that has historically favored mothers over fathers, this change is certainly a step in the right direction as far as fathers’ rights are concerned. Interestingly, however, a recently article in the Atlantic explains how this change may be empowering fathers even more than most people realize.

Some St. Louis fathers may already be aware of some parents’ aversion to shared custody. Your children have to move back and forth regularly, you and your ex have to live close to each other, and you and your ex have to communicate more often than you might like. Because of the challenges that can come with shared custody, some parents prefer to have one primary custodian. This sentiment, the Atlantic article explains, may have prompted a rise in the number of households headed by single fathers.

Today, 8 percent of homes with children younger than 18 are run by single fathers. Fifty years ago, that number was 1 percent. The shift toward shared custody, some believe, has promoted faith in fathers as primary caregivers. In turn, fathers are gaining greater confidence in themselves as parents.

This confidence, of course, is empowering for fathers in Missouri and elsewhere who are seeking to be treated fairly when it comes to child custody negotiations. Seeing that courts are now favoring fathers in some cases prompts some men to ask for more time with their children rather than settling for less because they think the mother will always come out on top.

When it comes to child custody, fathers and mothers should be viewed as equals. In most case, fathers are fully capable of caring for their children in the way courts have always assumed mothers are. Fortunately, evidence shows the courts are beginning to recognize this.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Rise of the Single Dad,” Caroline Kitchener, Feb. 24, 2014

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