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Fathers Increasingly Demanding Equal Child Custody Rights in Divorce

The recent Father’s Day weekend served as a reminder of the important role fathers have to play in the lives of their children. Yet, for many years, fathers tended to be treated less favorably in child custody decisions.

That is changing, however, and as parenting roles are increasingly becoming equal, custody arrangements are following suit. Today, fathers who are seeking more time with their children after a divorce are more likely than ever before to achieve their goals.

Since the 80s, the number of stay-at-home dads doubled, the percentage of moms receiving sole custody cut in half

In the family law courtrooms of the past, oftentimes the viewpoint was that if the mother was spending most of her time at home with the children, she was the one they should primarily end up with after a divorce. But today, the dual-earner household is the norm rather than the exception, and in fact, more men are even staying home with the kids while mothers go into the workplace.

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, between 1989 and 2012, the number of “stay-at-home” fathers nearly doubled in the U.S. In 1989, there were 1.1 million stay-at-home dads, but there were nearly 2 million in 2012.

In another study published in May in the journal Demography, researchers looked at court records of 9,873 divorce cases involving minor children between 1986 and 2008. Researchers found that over the study period, the percentage of mothers receiving sole custody dropped from 80 to 42 percent, the rate of equal shared custody rose from five to 27 percent and instances of unequal shared custody increased from three to 18 percent. The remaining cases consisted of nine percent fathers with sole custody and four percent split custody in multiple-child families with arrangements differing for each child.

Get the best custody arrangement for your children with the help of a family law attorney

In all divorces involving kids, the best interests of the child are the top concern in making child custody arrangements. What is best for children does not depend on the gender of either parent. Rather, each parent’s historical relationship with the children and the ability to continue being a nurturing provider in the future is of the utmost importance. In the past traditional gender roles have played a meaningful, and sometimes unfair, part in the crafting of child custody plans. But some of the latest research shows that in 2014, the stereotypes of the past are becoming less relevant when it comes to child custody.

If you are getting divorced, a skilled lawyer can help you get the custody arrangements you desire. Talk to an experienced family law attorney today to learn more about child custody and the arguments that can help put you in a stronger position at the negotiating table.