In the past, mothers have generally gained child custody more often than fathers.
Studies suggest this is because of a widely held notion that mothers and children
have a more connected biological and nurturing relationship.
That notion was likely fueled by the tradition of the stay-at-home mother. Gender
roles are now changing, however, and they are different than they were a mere
decade ago. And with today's unstable economy, those roles have been forced to
change at an even more rapid pace.
The Makeup of the Workforce
The majority of the time, both mother and father have to work - financially, there is
no other option. In 2008, the U.S. workforce included 68 million women, 75 percent
of them working full time. This trend changes the traditional dynamic of the home,
taking the stay-at-home mom out of the equation and giving children two working
Today, even that dynamic is not a given. In the current U.S. work climate, it is lucky
for both mother and father to hold a job; interestingly, men's unemployment rate is
higher than women's. What the home is left with more frequently than ever is a stay-
at-home dad with a working mom who is the primary breadwinner.
The Effect on Child Custody Decisions
This change in home, marriage and parenting dynamics is having an effect on
family court and custody decisions. According to Working Mother Magazine, fathers
are winning custody twice as often as they were 10 years ago.
Experts suggest courts are awarding custody to fathers more often due to a change
in father-child relationships - a change that has probably arisen from the changing
economic and home environments. Fathers are generally more involved in the
everyday care and nurturing of their children, a change that mitigates the previous
belief that mother and child are more connected and important to each other.
The more rewarding relationship between father and child, and the growing
acceptance of that connection, also leads to more fathers to actively fight to gain
child custody upon marital separation.
So while little good news comes out of a recession, fathers fighting for custodial
rights might be the beneficiaries of a silver lining. Florida family courts' primary goal
is always to serve the best interests of the child, and often a father plays a
significant role in fulfilling those interests. Courts are, thankfully, seeing that and
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The Law Office of Kathryn S, Robbie represents family law clients throughout Jacksonville, Florida, and the surrounding communities, including Jacksonville
Beach, St. Augustine, Lakeside, Middleburg, Palm Valley, Yulee, Orange Park, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra Beach, Green Cove Springs,
Callahan, Macclenny, Palatka, Hastings, Satsuma, Baldwin, Vilano and the communities in Duval County, Clay County, St. Johns County, Nassau County,
Baker County and Putnam County.