While most single-parent households in the U.S. are primarily lead by women, there is a rapidly increasing number of single fathers in the nation who are juggling the responsibilities of working and raising a child on their own, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Although 2009 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau reports that only 17.4 percent of custodial parents in the nation were men, the number is steadily rising. For instance, the newspaper reports that the number of single dads has increased 28 percent over the past decade while the number of single mothers declined for the first time since 1970.
“Many years ago, family courts would be reticent to award custody to the father even in the face of the mother having some issues,” Hans Johnson, of the Public Policy Institute of California, told the newspaper. “Today, fathers are expected to take on more child-rearing responsibilities than they were 30 years ago.”
In addition, a 2006 survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers members found that 22 percent of attorneys noticed an increase in cases where a father wins sole child custody, while none reported noticing a similar growth among mothers.
Some states have instituted new policies encouraging 50-50 child custody. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently signed legislation that requires family court judges to make custody decisions that maximize the presence of both parents in a child’s life.