The Evolution of Fatherhood

The Economy, Changing Perceptions Have More Fathers Playing an Active Role in Their Children's Lives

In the aftermath of a global financial crisis, more and more men find themselves being so-called "stay-at-home dads." Scores of layoffs - 80 percent of them affecting men - have chosen to forego their job search and be full-time caregivers. Other men have consciously made the decision to leave the hustle and bustle of the workplace, wanting to see for themselves how it is to spend more time with their families.

The idea that mothers alone are responsible for the bulk of child rearing is changing, and the world is more accepting of fathers who choose to be more involved. The one-time stigma associated with a man staying at home to care for children has faded, if not altogether disappeared, and this is a positive step for fathers and children alike. Society is also reaping the benefits, with better-balanced children taking advantage not only of having a parent around all the time, but also from the unique perspective offered by a father - more physical play, a different take on the world and less "coddling" to foster independence.

The ever-increasing role that fathers have in their children's lives has an unexpected side effect - it is becoming more common for men to be awarded custody of their children in a divorce. Even if they do not obtain sole physical custody of the kids, judges are putting more weight on the role of a dad in a child's life when making custody and visitation arrangements. The increase in fathers' involvement with their children has resulted in the expansion of co-parenting and joint parenting plans being used as part of many divorce agreements, ensuring that the father's contributions are accounted for when deciding what are the "best interests of the child."

Since the role of a dad in a child's life is ever-evolving, if you are a father in the midst of a divorce or custody dispute, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.