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Fathers’ Increasing Availability

Since the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008, subsequent economic hardship coupled with an increasing unemployment rate for men has resulted in more “out of work” or “available” fathers.  These fathers have morphed their lives into more accessible work schedules and/or working from home.  As a result of this, men are achieving custody in great numbers

          Recently, our firm has handled several cases in Westchester County.   In direct contrast to the counties of Nassau, Suffolk and the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, Westchester begins their custody cases with the presumption that custody is 50/50 and parenting time is 50/50.  This is a welcome development in the law.

Prior to the early 1970’s, the law operated with a presumption that the mother was the fit custodial parent.  The courts have since decreased application of the “Tender Years Doctrine,” a judicial presumption which almost automatically awards custody of the children to the mother, alternatively replacing it with the Best Interests of the Child’s Principle.  The Best Interests of the Child approach attempts to limit such a sex based preference when determining child custody.

A close look at statistical data below shows the interesting facts behind the sharp contrast between fatherless homes versus children with involved fathers in today’s society. Data provided by: http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/

Statistical Data-

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report)

Father Factor in Education - Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

  • Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse - Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.

  • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)

Father Factor in Incarceration – Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.

Father Factor in Crime - A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, a study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. Forty-two percent grew up in a single-mother household and sixteen percent lived with neither parent

Father Factor in Child Abuse – Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.

Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.

  • 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother. [Wray Herbert, “Dousing the Kindlers,” Psychology Today, January, 1985, p. 28]
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. [Rainbows f for all God’s Children]
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions have no father. [US Department of Justice, Special Report, Sept. 1988]
  • 85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992]
  • Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. [US D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999]

Census Fatherhood Statistics

  • 64.3 million: Estimated number of fathers across the nation
  • 26.5 million: Number of fathers who are part of married-couple families with their own children under the age of 18.
    Among these fathers -
    • 22 percent are raising three or more of their own children under 18 years old (among married-couple family households only).
    • 2 percent live in the home of a relative or a non-relative.
  • 24 million children (34 percent) live absent their biological father.
  • Nearly 20 million children (27 percent) live in single-parent homes.
  • 43 percent of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60 percent of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
  • Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.

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