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Family law courts recognize growing number of single fathers

Many custody arrangements among divorcing parents in Michigan and across the country take a democratic approach, appointing both parents with joint legal custody. However, physical custody is another matter.

A divorce court might examine several factors in determining the best interests of a child. Of course, that inquiry might be unnecessary if the parents can agree on a visitation or parenting schedule. When parents cannot agree on physical custody arrangements, however, a court might inquire about each parent’s respective work schedules, as well as whether housing arrangements and neighborhoods are conductive to child raising. For children in their teens or otherwise old enough to voice an opinion, a court might also ask the child about preferences for living with one parent or the other.

Readers should not assume that a court would appoint the mother with primary custody of children. In fact, data by the Pew Research Center suggests that the demographic of single parent households is changing. In 1960, single dads were relatively scarce, numbering less than 300,000 in the country. In 2011, however, that number was more than 2.6 million. That accounts for almost 25% of single parent American households.

Clearly, those numbers suggest that courts are aware of the significant contributions that fathers can make in their children’s lives, as well as recognition of fathers’ rights in general. A divorce attorney will likely be up-to-date on the latest developments in child custody law, and might offer valuable assistance in proposing a custody arrangement to the court.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Single Fathers: Pew Research Reports Number Of Single Dads Has Jumped In U.S.,” Lisa Belkin, July 2, 2013

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Family law courts recognize growing number of single fathers | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC