In many cases throughout popular media, fathers can be portrayed without an ounce of credibility for the amount that they contribute to the lives of their children. Whether it is Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin, dads can come off as yet another child that the mother of the household is forced to raise, and while there may be situations where this could be occurring, the more truthful scenario is far from these types of portrayals.
As a dad who has experienced a divorce, you may have wondered during discussions regarding child custody, if stereotypes regarding the credibility of fathers as parents influence any bit of the process, and while the Tender Years Doctrine has long since been rendered invalid by the law, its influence still can be felt in the family court system.
The presumption within the doctrine furthered the stereotype that women were to be the caretakers of the children and that their place was at home with them, and this stereotype is not only outdated based on the advances that women have made within the constructs of society, but it also undercuts a man’s ability to be the caretaking parent that his child needs.
You may have felt this presumption, which is why it is so vital for fathers to have a family law attorney by their side who understands the stereotypes that pervade the family court system. You need an attorney who is best able to represent your rights as a parent and look out for your future and the future of your children.
The idea that men should be relegated to a lower level of respect as a parent is based on the same premise that wanted women to stay home and raise the children. Both notions disrespect the individual and promote archaic roles in the family dichotomy.
Research, legislative efforts speak volumes
In fact, recent research suggests that stay-at-home fathers are on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of fathers who do not work outside the home is approximately 2 million, as of 2012. This is a dramatic increase from the 1.1 million that it was, as of 1989.
Additionally, father-only households also are increasing. According to the 2017 America’s Families and Living Arrangements data published by the United States Census Bureau, the percentage of children living with one parent, and that parent being their father, saw an increase from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 16.1 percent in 2017.
In order to help facilitate the rights of fathers in child custody cases, advocacy groups and politicians have lobbied many states to make shared parenting a standard, except for cases where neglect, abuse, or criminal activity are involved.
More than 20 states, including Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri have considered laws promoting shared parenting and an updated standard in child custody proceedings, and Kentucky was able to pass the law, promoting the rights of both parents in the life of their shared child.
With all of this data and change taking place at the state level, you would think that especially during Father’s Day, you, as a father, may be given a little bit of credit for the role that you play as an active parent in your child’s life.
Credibility and communication
You are able to communicate with your child, asking them how they are feeling and monitoring how they are adjusting to their new set of circumstances. Depending on a child’s age and maturity, they may be responsive to your inquiries and can help reestablish a new normal in their lives.
You are able to provide for them financially, allowing them the ability to thrive when they are with you. Through those means, you are able help them with their Father’s Day plans and give them the opportunity to celebrate this day with you.
Depending on your child custody arrangement and parenting plan, you may be able to give them the opportunity to show you how much you mean to them and how important you are in their life. You may have expectations for the day, and that is understandable, especially in a society that puts such an emphasis on the appreciation for mothers on Mother’s Day and fathers on Father’s Day.
As long as you do not allow those expectations to affect your interactions with your child or drive you into conflict with your co-parent, you should be able to forge an excellent Father’s Day celebration for yourself and for your children.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.