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Myths about child custody and child support for dadsIt has been a commonly repeated idea for decades that women generally receive custody of children more frequently than men do. There are several reasons why this has been historically true. However, societal perceptions and state laws are both changing, and in most cases, these changes are to the benefit of the children. There is a significant amount of misinformation that persists when discussing the rights of fathers, and it is important to understand why some particularly pervasive myths are just that—myths.

Myth: Fathers Almost Never Get Custody

It depends on the applicable definition of “never,” but generally, this is untrue. The most recent available Census statistics show that fathers represent around one in five custodial parents—an improvement over the 16 percent of custodial parents reported in 1994. However, studies indicate that dads simply do not ask for custody as often as mothers do, and courts generally do not award what is not asked for in that regard.

A Massachusetts study examined 2,100 fathers who asked for custody and pushed aggressively to win it. Of those 2,100, 92 percent either received full or joint custody, with mothers receiving full custody only 7 percent of the time. Another study where 8 percent of fathers asked for custody showed that of that 8 percent, 79 percent received either sole or joint custody (in other words, approximately 6.3 percent of all fathers in the study). 

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St. Charles father’s rights attorneyToday’s fathers are often much more involved in raising their children than those from previous generations. Married couples or unmarried parents are more likely to share in family responsibilities, and in many cases, both partners work full-time jobs, make decisions together, and cooperate on chores and household tasks. Unlike the stereotypical dads of the past who left most child-related duties up to moms, modern fathers will often play a vital role in caring for their children.

Unfortunately, when married parents choose to get a divorce or unmarried parents decide to separate, many dads feel that their role as a parent is minimized, and they may struggle with concerns that they will not be able to continue to be closely involved in their children’s lives. After years of changing diapers, making sure kids are properly fed and clothed, attending children’s activities and doctor’s appointments, helping with homework, and myriad other parental responsibilities, fathers will want to keep up this level of involvement and be the great parent their children deserve.

If you are getting divorced, or if you are an unmarried parent who needs to address the custody of your children, you will want to be sure you take the right steps to protect your father’s rights. By working with a Kane County family law attorney, you can gain a better understanding of your rights as a parent, the decisions you will need to make, and the best ways to reach an outcome that will provide for your children’s best interests. Some of the issues that you may need to consider include:

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