Family Law

Households Headed by Single Dads Surge as Public and Courts Rethink Traditional Roles

About three out of every four United States households that has only a single parent is headed by a single mom rather than a single dad.

But that gap has narrowed tremendously in the last decade or so, according to data from the 2010 census, Bloomberg reports.

In Fairfield County, Conn., for example, the number of households headed by single moms rose about 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the number with single dads at the helm surged by a little over 30 percent.

As unmarried couples and single-parent families have become more common, society and the courts have taken a more favorable view of dads who seek custody: Compared to 20 years ago, courts are much more likely now to award custody to a dad who is involved in his child’s life, law professor Margaret Brinig of the University of Notre Dame tells the news agency.

Fathers, also, may be more willing to mount a legal battle to win custody:

“Why should I be the underdog here?” says Dr. Joe Cioffi, 59, of Fairfield, who prevailed in a court clash with his former girlfriend. “I’m a professional. I pay my bills. I’m not a criminal. I’m home at night. So we played hardball.”

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