Families come in many shapes and sizes. Traditionally, mothers stayed home to take care of the children, while fathers went out into the workforce in an attempt to make ends meet. In this day and age, however, it is not uncommon to see fathers staying at home to raise the children while mothers bring home the paycheck. As women advance to higher paying positions in the workplace, parenting roles have become more translucent and vary depending on what works best for each family.
When parents file for divorce, the issue of child custody comes to the forefront. In many cases, the primary caretaker, or the parent who stays at home to care for the children, is awarded custody. The cases have become more gender neutral, and as a result, fathers may be awarded custody of the children. Furthermore, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay child support. This hits mothers who are the primary breadwinners and have established themselves in a career to support the family. Mothers who have a drug addiction, are incarcerated or abusive toward children may also loose custody of their children.
When determining custody of the children, the judge presiding over the case may consider the following:
- How close the father is to the child
- The status of the child’s relationship with the mother
- Who spends the majority of time caring for the child
- What is in the child’s best interests
People should keep in mind that shared parenting is often the best choice, as both parents are critical to the development of the child. Yet, depending on the circumstances of the case, fathers may receive sole-custody of the children.