New Jersey residents may be interested in research recently published that points to a significant change in demographics. According to a Pew Research Center study, the number of single parent households rose between 1960 and 2011 by more than 500 percent. This change reflects a significant increase in divorce rates as well as a higher number of fathers who head households with one or more minor children.
The assumption that more fathers are taking care of their children on a full-time basis is supported by the numbers. In 1960, 300,000 households with minor children were headed by single fathers as compared to 2.6 million such households in 2011. This trend reflects a broad cultural departure from the stereotypical model of weekend male parenting as fathers are increasingly asking for and receiving a greater role in their child’s upbringing and custody.
Courts, once more prone to deciding child custody based on traditional roles, are now gearing their decisions toward joint sharing of parental responsibilities. This has led to logistical difficulties in some cases as children move from one household to the next. The complexities of joint parenting have sometimes been resolved by the father assuming total custody of their children. In this regard, the male role has changed as fathers have become confident of their child-rearing ability.
The traditional standard in child custody proceedings has traditionally focused on the best interests of the child. Believing that input from both parents is important, the trend toward shared parenting has grown with arrangements decided on a case-by-case basis. Sole physical custody is always an option with the non-custodial parent having ample opportunity to spend time with the child. An attorney may be able to provide advice in terms of structuring an agreeable custodial arrangement.
Source: The Atlantic, “The Rise of the Single Dad“, Caroline Kitchener, February 24, 2014