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Pew study sheds light on father's rights


Most of us assume that a single parent is a single mom, and that is usually a correct assumption. However, a study by the Pew Research Center indicates that the number of single-father households is rising.

Between 1960 and 2011, the data show that the number of single-dad households jumped nearly ninefold to 8 percent. Although single-mother families increased too, homes headed by single fathers have increased more dramatically, now representing more than 2.6 million households. More than half-52 percent-of the respondents in the study are divorced, widowed, separated, or unmarried fathers; 41 percent are cohabitating; the remaining single father householdss are married fathers who are currently separated from their spouses. Some of the fathers in the survey have some sort of formal or informal shared parenting arrangement. Single fathers also have, on average, higher incomes than single mothers do, and they are less likely to be living at or below the poverty line.

Although there are still challenges to dads having custody of their children, the study suggests that the norm no longer favors the mother. In addition, recent changes in legal views acknowledge fathers' rights, giving dads the opportunity to practice hands-on parenting and to spend more time with their children.

This survey proves that many American fathers in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and elsewhere in the country can take on parental responsibilities after divorce. Gender does not necessarily indicate a parent's ability to take care of children. Fathers have the right either to visit or to have custody of their children; they play as much of a role in their child's emotional health and overall well-being as moms.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Single Fathers Still on the Rise," Kathleen O'Brien, July 9, 2010

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