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Fathers seek to change their role in custody cases

Fathers in Michigan may sometimes feel like the family court system is stacked against them. Although many people say the court bias against dads is nothing but a myth, the numbers may be hard to ignore. As reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 24 percent of children live with their single mom, while only about 4 percent are living with their father.

Recent data from 2011 shows that custodial mothers received child support three times more than custodial fathers received child support. These numbers remained largely unchanged over the last 20 years.

Fathers claim that they have to work much harder to show that they are deserving parents and to overcome the presumption that it is a mother's birthright to raise her children. Moms are often perceived to be more involved with their children and therefore have a tendency to win legal custody.

For those who say this bias is untrue, they point out that some of the data is misleading and that the bias is not coming from the court system but from a cultural norm. A national website known as DivorcePeers.com stated that most child custody cases are decided between the parents and not in a courtroom. In over half of the custody cases studied, the parents agreed on their own accord that the mother would have custody. Surprisingly, over 90 percent of custody cases that result from divorce do not ever involve family court.

Bias or not, it is important to find a healthy way for both parents to be involved in the lives of their children. And this may mean fighting against certain stereotypes of single fathers.

Parents going through a divorce or child custody determination may want to speak with a Michigan child custody attorney about their options. Whether the process is decided between the parents or whether it ends up in front of a judge, legal representation can help ensure that both parties have an opportunity to have their voice heard.

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer, "Single fathers seek equal opportunity," Olivia Lewis, Jan. 3, 2014

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