In the realm of fathers' rights in family law, there seems to be little question among experts that single fathers (divorced dads with kids or fathers of children in an unmarried-couple relationship) are much more a force to be reckoned with than they were even a few short years ago.
We discussed this changing trend in a prior blog post (July 10). Those who pay attention to it -- family law practitioners, demographers, sociologists, family psychologists and others -- say it is noticeable and gaining steam.
"There is a visible presence now of single men caring for their kids," says a Johns Hopkins University public policy expert.
"If the dad is really interested in getting custody and wants to have a relationship with his kids, he is far more successfully than he was 20 years ago," adds a University of Notre Dame family law professor.
Relevant statistics certainly support those views. Between 2000 and 2010, for example, there was a 27 percent-plus increase in the number of single dads with custody of their children. And although American households with single fathers might still be relatively small, standing at about eight percent of all households with kids, it is progressively increasing, and fast. The number stood at 6.3 percent in 2000 and at just 1.1 percent in 1950.
Underlying the change are several factors, most notably that more women are entering the workforce and more fathers are simply demanding increased participation in their children's lives.
Every state in the country now has a law favoring some type of joint-parenting arrangement.
The days are long gone when, as noted by one sociology professor, "Unless the mother was dead or in jail or mentally ill, the father wouldn't get the child."
Related Resource: Bloomberg "Single-Dad Courtroom Wins Show Greater Embrace of New Families" July 24, 2011