Single-dad households on the rise

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Research shows that in Illinois and all around the country, single-father households have been on the rise for decades. In 1960, dads with sole custody headed just one percent of households with minor children. By 2011, however, that number had jumped to eight percent, with a total of approximately 2.6 million such households in the United States. Factors from the changing employment demographic to society’s growing acceptance of single men as caregivers are believed to be behind the trend, but there may also be an unexpected contributing cause. It seems that the “shared parenting” movement has been partially responsible for the upturn in father-only households.

Since 2000, the shared parenting concept has been adopted by more and more state legislatures looking to introduce balance as the definition of “the best interests of the child.” As is still the case in some states, a child’s best interests usually meant awarded sole physical custody to the mother. With more women working and single men feeling ill-served, the movement proposed a 50/50 split of parenting time.

This move in states like Minnesota and Iowa toward seeking equality of parenting for mothers and fathers led to growing confidence among dads that they could in fact be trusted with raising children. This, in turn, prompted some fathers who might never have done it in an earlier era to seek sole custody of the children. Some of them succeed in that goal, and so the number of single-dad homes has risen.

Fathers’ rights and grandparents’ rights are receiving more recognition than ever in family law courtrooms. Judges may be open to hearing arguments that the best interests of the child do not necessarily lie exclusively with the child’s mother.

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

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Single-dad households on the rise