According to data from the Decennial Census and American Community Survey discovered by a Pew Research Center analysis, more single fathers are heading the household in the United States. The study shows that a record 8% of the households where minors reside have the father has the primary caregiver. In 1960, the number was just 1%.
In 1960, there were fewer than 300,000 homes in which the primary caregiver was a single father. In 2011, that number reached over 2.6 million. The report was based on the study of fathers above the age of 15 who are the head of the house and live with their minor children, including biological children, step-children, and adopted children. If the father lived in a home headed by someone else, they were not included in this report.
The men in the study widely differed in their circumstances:
- 52% were divorced, separated, widowed, or never married and living without a partner in the home
- 41% were living with a partner, but not married
- 7% were living apart from their spouse, but were still married
The increase in single fathers can be contributed to a number of things, one of which could be the number of non-marital births. It may also be because of the increased rates of divorce from the 1960s and 70s. There may also be a connection with the increased legal efforts to help fathers assert their rights and gain partial or full custody of their children.
The study also showed that a number of the single fathers are younger, have a high school diploma or dropped out of high school, and don’t make as much money. Of the fathers that are under the age of 30, 27% are single parents. The Census Bureau’s numbers allow for single fathers who may be living with the child’s grandparents, but it also shows that many of the men categorized as a single father are doing the raising alone.
Because of the shift in the United States judicial system and the standard for family law judges to look for the best interests of the child in custody cases, the number of fathers receiving better custody arrangements and claiming to be single fathers is on the rise. Before, “the best interests of the child” was essentially meant to be in favor of the mother because of the nurturing ability of the mom. Now, judges are more likely to interpret “the best interests of the child” as having a strong relationship with both parents.
There have been recent pushes for joint parenting on part of both the courts and from fathers. Many courts believe that the bond between both parents and children, as long as they are healthy bonds, are beneficial. Fathers are also believing that they can do more for the child and are becoming more aware of their rights in matters such as child custody.
At Givens Givens Sparks, our Tampa fathers’ rights lawyers understand how important it is for men who want to have custody of their children to understand their situation. We stand by your side so you can take the necessary steps towards protecting yourself in child custody matters. As a father, you are granted specific rights and they should be upheld at all times. Call today to discuss your matter.