Parents in Pennsylvania who are involved in contentious child custody cases may be interested in a recent article. Historically, when going through a divorce, fathers will often not even ask a judge for child custody, because they believe that judges will probably not rule in their favor. According to the article, these fathers are not exactly wrong. Traditionally, judges would find that it was in the “best interest of the child” for the mother to have sole custody of their children. However, some states are now passing legislation that says that parents should be given joint custody of their children. Although Pennsylvania is not one of these states, social norms are evolving and it is becoming more acceptable for men to be single heads of households with minor children.
In 1960, only 1 percent of households with minor children were headed by single men; this number has increased 8 percent over the past half century. This increase is partly due to the fact that more people are now getting divorced, and more couples are now having children without getting married. Nonetheless, the slowly increasing percentage of single men who are heads of households that include minor children may be motivation for other men who want custody of their children.
In addition, the increase in legislation that leads the courts toward joint-custody agreements may be crowding out mothers. The article suggests that many individuals may prefer sole custody by either parent rather than shared custody. This may be due to the desire to avoid contact with a former spouse and the logistical difficulties of shared parenting.
Even as general trends continue to favor shared custody and the demographics of single-parent households changes, the outcome of each child custody case may vary. Individuals who are involved in child custody disputes might be able to work with an attorney who might guide clients throughout proceedings.
Source: The Atlantic, “The Rise of the Single Dad“, Caroline Kitchener , February 24, 2014