More and more fathers are becoming the heads of single-parent households. The development has been one in the making and is the result of changing cultural norms and expectations as well as the expansion of fathers’ rights. Even though women still outnumber men as the heads of single-parent households, courts and families recognize more than before that the household of the father is the best place for the children.
According to one expert from the Public Policy Institute of California, family courts are less cautious to award child custody to the father today than they were in years past. Before, judges were even hesitant to award custody to the father if the mother had issues. Now fathers are expected to contribute more to child-raising responsibilities and those cultural expectations have translated into greater fathers’ rights.
In a 2006 survey, no member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers saw an increase in the number of mothers who gained child custody but 22 percent saw a rise in the number of fathers who gained sole child custody. Fathers’ advocacy groups say the statistics are a sign that fathers want the job of primary parent and have the ability to raise children as well as mothers.
One single father from Richmond, California says he is doing what he is supposed to do as a father and when people compliment him on the street he says it is not required because a father has a responsibility to his children.
Many single dads like single moms tend to be less financially secure than their married peers. Fathers with custody can also be shy to seek child support from the child’s mother out of fear that they will lose custody.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “As numbers of single dads rise, many struggle to find balance,” Hannah Dreier, 6/29/11