Parenting Skills Leading Factor over Gender in Custody Disputes

Residents of Texas know that divorce is more than the division of two people; oftentimes there are children stuck in the middle of their parents’ dispute. We have already examined the statistical increase in joint custody cases, but it is important to know why fathers are filing for joint custody more than ever before.

A common fear for divorcing fathers maybe that custody will be granted to the mother and that the father will have to fight tooth and claw for any visitation. Times have changed and there are more equal rights, especially for women in the workplace. This has led to more fathers becoming stay-at-home dads. According to a recent Pew Research Study, stay-at-home dads have increased from just 5 percent in 1989 to 21 percent in 2012. In addition, a professor at Northern Illinois University’s College of Law believes that many of today’s judges and lawyers came from divorced homes where contact with their father after the divorce came from a few overnights and visitation. This background of the judges may also be contributing to the shift.

Every single child custody case is different and because of the sensitive nature of such situations, it can be difficult to focus on the best interests of the parties involved without getting emotionally caught up. While the statistics do show a shift in custody, a more important element to take away from such situations, sources say, is the idea of parenting over gender. While it was once more common for a mother to get custody of a child, today’s custody cases can focus much more on the parenting skills of an individual over just the gender.

There is no doubt that the recent recession had an impact on the gender of people in the workplace. This shift allocated stay-at-home duties to more fathers everywhere. When examining child custody cases it is important to factor in “parenting skills” because these skills are directly related to the best interests of the child. A stable and equal parenting environment is ideally the best for any child going through a parents’ divorce.

Source:, “More fathers demand equal custody rights,” June 14, 2014

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