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Increasing Numbers of Single Fathers Gaining Child Custody PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Myburgh Law, P.C.   
Data from the 2010 Census show a significant increase in the number of families led by single dads, reflecting a shift toward greater gender equality in child custody decisions.

September 23, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Data from the 2010 Census show a significant increase in the number of families led by single dads in the U.S. The statistics reflect a relatively recent shift toward greater gender equality in family law, giving dads more equal footing in child custody decisions.

More Families Headed by Single Fathers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of American families with single, male heads of households increased by 27.3 percent from 2000 to 2010. Single fathers accounted for 8 percent of U.S. households in 2010, reports Bloomberg news, which is an increase from 6.3 percent of American households in 2000 and just 1.1 percent in 1950.

As the statistics demonstrate, changes in cultural norms and legal rules have resulted in a greater number of fathers gaining custody of their children following divorce or separation. Some researchers attribute the rise in single fathers to a concurrent increase in the number of unmarried couples cohabitating, saying that the single fathers may be living with partners to whom they simply are not married.

However, the increase also could result from a growing legal recognition that mothers are not always the best parent to have primary custody of children. In 1973, Indiana became the first state to enact a law declaring that no parent is favored for child custody simply because of his or her gender. And over the years, a majority of states' laws have changed to eliminate a presumption of child custody with the mother.

New York Child Custody Laws

In New York, child custody laws do not automatically favor one parent over the other. Instead, if the parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, a judge will make a child custody decision based on the "best interest of the child."

To determine what child custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child, judges consider several factors, including:

- Each parent's physical and mental health

- Whether one parent has historically been the primary caregiver

- Each parent's ability to care and provide for the child as well as his or her parenting skills

- The child's relationships with any siblings or extended family members

- Each parent's ability to work with and encourage the child's relationship with the other parent, if appropriate

- Any history of domestic violence

- The child's preference, if of sufficient age

Going through a divorce when children are involved can be stressful and emotional. But, an experienced New York family law lawyer can help you through the process and make the best case possible for your desired child custody arrangement. If you are thinking about getting divorced and are wondering how it might affect your children, contact a family law attorney in your area today.

 



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