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Do pushes for equal custody result in more single fathers?

14826760_S.jpgIf it seems to Illinois residents that there are more families headed by single fathers than in years past, they're right. A study that came out last year found that back in 1960, less than 300,000 households in the country that had minor children were headed by an unmarried dad. By 2011, however, that number had jumped to 2.6 million. That represents an increase from 1 percent of such households 54 years ago to about 8 percent now.

Experts attribute some of the gains to the shifting landscape of child custody within the American judicial system. The long-held idea of protecting the best interests of the child hasn't exactly gone by the wayside. However, with the increasing inclination of courts to award joint physical custody, rather than just joint legal custody, many more dads than before are becoming more active participants in their children's lives.

The evolution of the law has coincided with the evolution of the mindset of many soon-to-be divorced fathers. Many dads might have thought that because courts have tended to favor mothers in custody battles, it would be a waste of their time to push for custody. Now, however, dads are realizing that the courts might come to a favorable decision -- which can serve to stiffen their resolve and empower them to assert their rights.

This is an issue that will continue to ebb and flow in the years to come. Fathers who find themselves in this kind of situation don't have to take on the responsibility of the legal fight on their own, however. Experienced legal advice from family law attorneys can be a big benefit to people in a custody fight.

Source: The Atlantic, "The Rise of the Single Dad," Caroline Kitchener, Feb. 24, 2014

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Stange Law Firm, PC
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