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Fathers' rights still shifting - more single dads awarded custody

Analysis of census data reflects the growth of single fathers who have custody of children. The number has been slowly increasing since the 1950s. Some believe that this can be attributed to the shift in society's view of single parenthood and fathers' rights.

In the past, courts have given greater preference to the mother of a child by awarding her primary custody after a divorce. But now, courts are more focused on what is in the best interests of the child and sometimes that means shared custody or primary custody being awarded to the father.

One doctor endured several years fighting his ex-girlfriend for primary custody of their son. Initially after the divorce, the doctor was awarded visitation rights; with time he realized that he wanted to be more involved in his son's life and asked for custody rights. He wanted a chance to prove to the court that he would be a responsible father and could financially support a son. The judge apparently saw that he would be a fit father and awarded him primary custody.

This courtroom victory is just one of several that reflect a change in how society views single parents. More and more single dads are awarded primary custody and are taking care of their children.

One expert in the legal field noted that this shift means that fathers have a greater ability to exercise their rights when it comes to child custody. No longer is it presumed that the mother should be the primary custodial parent. Rather the field is being leveled, giving fathers a better chance of getting custody.

Source: Bloomberg: "Single-Dad Courtroom Wins Show Greater Embrace of New Families," Joel Stonington and Frank Bass, July 24, 2011.

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