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Fathers’ Rights Protected As Stereotypical Gender Roles Diminish

Going through a divorce is often an emotionally trying time, and the difficult emotions can be heightened if the marriage involves children. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, one out of every two marriages end in divorce, leaving many couples to worry about the effect that the dissolution of their marriage will have on their children and concerned about who will be able to gain sole custody of the children after the divorce is final.

Trends in child custody

Parental roles and responsibilities are much different now compared with just a few decades ago. For example, a 2010 statistic from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics states that approximately 64.4 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 work outside the home. Attitudes about mother’s roles are also changing. According to a 2009 Pew Poll, 52 percent of those surveyed stated that they believed the ideal situation was for a mother to work part-time while only 42 percent of participants that thought a mother should stay at home with their children and not work.

In the past, when parental roles and responsibilities were more traditional, the typical outcome for a custody case was for the mother to gain responsibility of the children, despite whether she worked or not, live in the family’s home and for the father to pay child support and see the children on the weekends.

Now, the way a court makes the decision for who will gain the majority of responsibility for the children is dependent on the role each parent plays in the children’s lives. For example, if both parents in a marriage work full-time and they share parental responsibilities evenly, than the father has just as good of a chance to gain full conservatorship over the children as the mother.

Determining factors for fathers

When parenting roles are considered equal between both parents, a father’s ability to gain full conservatorship over the children is often reliant on his ability to prove a higher level of involvement in the children’s lives. This may include doing things like:

  • Transporting the children to and from school.
  • Making and feeding the children meals.
  • Supporting and participating in extracurricular activities that the children enjoy.
  • Scheduling and going to doctor’s appointments with the children.
  • Attending PTA meetings.

Fathers should try and establish an understanding relationship with the children’s mother during the divorce and fight for as much time with the children after the divorce from the very start. In addition to these things, fathers should also hire an attorney that can help them establish sole or shared custody of their children. If you are going through a divorce and are worried about the amount of time you will be able to secure with your children after the divorce is final, contact an attorney in your area that specializes in child custody.