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Increase in fathers getting custody

Florida parents may be interested to learn about a recent study showing that eight percent of households with minor children were headed by a single father in 2011, up from one percent in 1960. While single mother households have increased over that period as well, the percentage increase for single father households is higher.

This trend may have resulted from U.S. courts slowly moving away from having a default preference for the maternal household in child custody disputes. Research indicates that the push for joint physical custody – as opposed to joint legal custody – may further enhance the parental rights of fathers by disabusing them of the belief that courts innately favor the mother.

Whereas in the past fathers may have accepted whatever custody time they were granted because they felt they were lucky to have any time with their child at all, courts today are more likely to grant them equal custody or even sole custody than before. In addition, courts may have gotten better at understanding that shared custody can be rather complicated when the two adults involved want nothing to do with one another.

Child custody is often one of the more difficult aspects of divorce. Given the extremity of emotion these cases sometimes involve, it is not always easy to act in a way that is in the best interests of the child. Furthermore, custody disputes sometimes require some amount of investigation into the lifestyles of both households to ascertain which may be best suited for the child. If a parent fears that they have not been granted sufficient time with their child, they may be able to attempt to have the custody agreement modified.

Source: The Atlantic , “The Rise of the Single Dad“, Caroline Kitchener , February 24, 2014