Fathers Rights in Indiana: Census Shows More Dads as Heads of Household

U.S. Census Data collected in 2010 shows large increases in the number of single fathers as head of U.S. households.

Fathers Rights are an issue of great importance. As a veteran child custody attorney in Highland, Burton Padove understands how important it is for a father not to be pushed to the weekends when parents divorce.Over the past decade, there has been a real shift toward a presumption that both parents should share parenting duties and custody, to the greatest extent possible. That fathers should remain a dynamic presence in a child’s life — not relegated to very other weekend visitation. Or summers and holidays.

The 2010 Census shows the number of men heading households shot up by more than 27 percent in the last decade.

Single dads now account for 8 percent of all U.S. households — up from 6.3 percent in 2000 and little more than 1 percent in 1950.

In 1973, Indiana became the first state to pass a law declaring no parent should be favored for child custody based on gender. Since then, most states have followed suit in ending any presumption that child custody should be awarded to the mother. Oregon has gone so far as to pass a law that presumes joint custody will be awarded. Alabama recently began debating similar legislation.

“It’s time for us to stop assuming that single parents are always women,” said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “There is a visible presence now of single men caring for their kids. We didn’t see that a few decades ago.”

Indiana’s parenting time guidelines presume it’s in a child’s best interest to have frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with each parent. A child custody agreement will set out which parent or parents can make substantial decisions on behalf of a child, including those involving education or health care.

Other factors the court may consider in determining the “best interests” of a child include:

-A child’s preference, depending on age.

-A parents health, habits and lifestyle.

-Abuse or neglect risks.

-Parents ability to provide for the daily needs of a child.

-Continuity of child’s life, including schooling and community and social activities.

Move away custody issues is another area of family law in Indiana that has attorneys fighting on behalf of the rights of a noncustodial parent. A parent desiring to move away must provide a Notice to Move and a proposed parenting plan.

The other parent has the right to object, in which case a hearing will be set to establish what is in the “best interests” of a child. The non-custodial parent may also obtain a restraining order, which legally prevents the move until such a hearing can be held.

Highland Child Custody Attorney Burton A. Padove offers free and confidential appointments on family law matters throughout Northwest Indiana, including Munster, Lansing, Porter and Crown Point. Call 219-836-2200.

Additional Resources:

Single-Dad Courtroom Wins Show Greater Embrace of New Families, By Joel Stonington and Frank Bass, Bloomberg News.

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