Recent courtroom successes by many single fathers could show a change in attitude toward these parents in divorce and custody proceedings, Bloomberg reports.

“It’s time for us to stop assuming that single parents are always women,” Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told the news source. “There is a visible presence now of single men caring for their kids. We didn’t see that a few decades ago.”

The attitudes seem to be changing if recent litigation is any indication. Joe Cioffi, a physician in Connecticut, recently endured a four-year struggle to win primary custody of his son after he and the child’s mother ended their relationship.

Once considered a minority, Cioffi is part of a 27.3 percent increase in American families led by single fathers, according to data from the 2010 Census. These statistics may already be out-of-date considering the growing diversity of today’s family structures, WNYC reports.

“The statistics are kind of falling behind the reality of America’s changing families and in some cases not really capturing the lived experiences of these children,” Kelly Musick, a family demographer at Cornell University, told the news source.

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