More than a century ago, the idea of a single father left alone with the children was unthinkable. In fact, the movement for women’s voting rights in America during the early 20th century even spurred an anti-suffrage movement. The formal emancipation of women, after all, could overturn gender roles, forcing men to take over the households.
A lot has changed since then. Single fatherhood is now increasingly normal: with the decline of the “two married parents” model in America, about 25% of men lead all single-parent families.
Shifting Standards for Child Custody Cases
A Pew Research Study from 2014 shows that the judicial system and the shifting standards for child custody cases have led to the prevalence of single fatherhood. Where ruling in “the best interest of the child” was once a euphemism for ruling “in favor of the mother,” many states have adopted new legislation that rises above the maternal bias of the old system. Law firms such as kufferlaw.com, for instance, consider fathers as a protected class of individuals who deserve the right to proper legal representation.
As fathers begin to acknowledge that they have something important to contribute to their children’s lives, it is fueling a sense of empowerment among single dads.
The Unexpected Result of the Push for Joint Custody
New legislation points to the prevalence of joint parenting — a policy that encourages both parents to spend equal time with their child. Rather than encouraging divorced parents to split their time equally on the children, however, the policy has led to the rise in the number of single dads.
In the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, a study reveals that the new joint parenting law led to a change in attitudes about parenthood for fathers. Despite the steep learning curve for single parenting, dads ended up having more faith in their parenting abilities.
Compared to previous years, single dads are playing a more active role in taking care of their children. As the role of dads begins to change, the children of tomorrow will have the benefit of strong paternal support.