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Are dads spending enough time with their children?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2018 | child custody |

In most cases, Michigan law officially favors child custody and parenting arrangements that promote a strong bond with both parents. That doesn’t mean that every child custody and parenting order will split the child’s time 50/50 between the parents, as there are often other factors to take into consideration. Still, children are generally better off spending lots of time with each parent.

It’s interesting, therefore, that a recent study by the Pew Research Center found that about 63 percent of American fathers say they spend too little time with their children. Of those dads, 62 percent cited work obligations as the main reason why. Another 20 percent, however, said the reason was that they don’t live with their kids full time. In other words, a substantial number of unmarried and divorced fathers feel they don’t get enough time with their children.

How does that compare with women? Only about 35 percent of mothers reported not getting enough time with their children. Of those, 54 percent blamed work obligations, 16 percent cited other family or household obligations, and about 10 percent said it was because they didn’t have full-time custody of their kids.

So, a far smaller number of moms are dissatisfied with the amount of time they get with their kids and, of those, a smaller number cited shared custody as the main factor.

As context, consider that about 24 percent of dads who have children 17 and younger live apart from at least one of their children. And, 17 percent are living apart from all of their children.

Education level associated with dads spending too little time with their kids

Child custody and visitation arrangements may reflect these trends, or even reinforce them. If more mothers are satisfied with the time they spend with their kids, that could mean that mothers are receiving more favorable arrangements than fathers. However, that’s only one interpretation of the data.

When Pew broke down the overall statistics by education level, they found that men with a college degree or more education were less likely to be unsatisfied with the time they got with their kids. About 50 percent of college educated men were unsatisfied, while 69 percent were unsatisfied among dads with some college or less education. Education level played a much less obvious role in the satisfaction level among mothers.

These statistics are important because they paint a picture of how things are for many people right now. They do not predict an outcome for any individual parent or family. Your family law attorney can help you set up fair custody and parenting time arrangements that are in your children’s best interest.