What's the difference between a "single father" and a "divorced dad?" This sounds like the setup to a joke, but it's not. Many of us would use those terms interchangeably, but there is a difference, according to some. And that distinction may reflect a larger problem with the way that society views the custody rights of men.
When couples who have children separate, the issue of child custody can be dodgy. Many fathers might feel shut out of the process of raising their kids -- and not by accident. One poll taken recently of recently separated women in the United Kingdom, in fact, finds that about a third of separated moms want to decide on their kids' upbringing on their own, with no input from the children's fathers.
In our last post we focused on how some fathers feel unfairly treated when it comes to divorce, especially in terms of being ordered to pay lifetime alimony to an ex-wife who is fully capable of working. However, this is not the only form of gender discrimination, as many men also claim to experience sexism when it comes to child custody.
When a relationship ends it is hard on everyone, especially when there are children involved. However, by pre-planning a little and having an understanding on what to expect from the beginning, fathers have a better chance of being able to accurately articulate their arguments on why a child custody or visitation schedule should be awarded in a certain way.
In Missouri, father's rights with respect to their children can become vulnerable during the divorce process. However, while it used to be that the court system favored mothers, many courts are now considering other alternatives to better involve fathers, including physical and legal custody, along with joint custody that revolves around co-parenting.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the past ten years there has been a 27.3 percent increase in the number of households led by single parent fathers. And while the number of single dads is still less than the number of single mothers, the fact that there has at least been an increase shows that there seems to be a greater acceptance of the idea of a father being awarded primary or joint custody.
Primary child custody is no longer the exclusive domain of biological mothers as over the past few years more and more fathers are being awarded custody and are taking on the responsibility of being a single parent.