More MA fathers receive custody of their children after divorce

America is comprised of a collage of different types of families. From extended step-families to single-parent households, the definition of a family has expanded to encompass many images throughout the years. Fifty years ago, many divorce cases resulted in the mother obtaining primary custody of the children. In fact, only 1 percent of households were headed by single fathers in 1960, according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center. Fast forward to 2011 when more than 2.6 million single-fathers are raising their children. This makes up approximately 8 percent of American households with children. A revolution of fathers demanding equal rights to their children has taken over Massachusetts and the nation.

Reasons for the change

There are several explanations as to why there is a rise in the number of fathers who are being awarded custody of their children. Some of the most common include:

  • Change in court beliefs: Years ago, custody was awarded based on the 'tender-years doctrine,' which believed that young children were better off when placed with their mothers. In 1994, the court system began to move away from this idea and turned toward awarding custody based off of the child's best interest, according to an article published in the New York Times. The child's best interest may or may not result in residing primarily with the mother.
  • Surge of working women: More women have joined the workforce, causing a shift in gender roles. Whether a family lives off a duel income or the mother is the primary source of income for the family, fathers play a more active caretaking role in their children's lives. This makes a significant difference in where the child will reside after a divorce. According to an article published in Working Mother, custody is often awarded to the child's primary caretaker, whether it is the mother or the father.

Fighting for paternity

While some fathers flee from the responsibility of raising their child, other fathers are fighting for the ability to do just that. Several high profile cases involving prominent actors and athletes initiating paternity battles have drawn recent media attention. One actor is fighting for visitation of his 4-year-old son after the courts granted sole custody to his girlfriend. The judge denied the father access to the child primarily because the child was conceived through in vitro fertilization.

An athlete is challenging an order that allowed his baby's mother to move out of the state without his consent. In many cases, fathers are successful at their attempts. The New York Times estimates that nearly 50 percent of dads seeking sold custody will receive it. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been a significant increase in the number of mothers who are paying child support.

Partnering with an attorney

Fathers who want to pursue a relationship with their child and wish to fight for paternal rights or custody should contact a family law attorney. An established attorney can help you create a case that may get you closer to receiving custody of your child.