By Matt Allen
Another study has been published affirming the importance of fathers and the need for divorced dads to be involved in their children‘s lives.
Yet an increasing amount of children live apart from their fathers despite a strong majority of the public believing children need a father in the home.
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth, 27% of children do not live with their dad compared to only 11% of children 50 years ago.
This comes at a time when almost 70% of the public said having a father in the home is essential to a child’s happiness.
Only a slightly higher share (74%) says the same about having a mother in the home, according to the study.
It comes as no surprise that fathers who live with their children are more involved in their lives, spending more time with them and taking part in a greater variety of activities.
63% of men who live with their children say they helped their child with homework at least several times a week, and 54% say they took their child to or from activities several times a week or more.
Compare that to fathers who live apart from their children who report only 10% of them are able to help with homework and only 11% took a child to or from activities.
The trend toward more children living apart from their fathers is partly attributed to the decline in marriage rates and fathers routinely being cast as the non-custodial parent in divorce cases. Just 52% of the adult population was married in 2008 compared to 72% in 1960.
The study asked, “What is life like for fathers who live apart from their children?”
Survey says: not good.
“Roughly one-in-five fathers who live apart from their children say they visit with them more than once a week, and an additional 29% see their children at least once a month,” according to the report. “For 21% of these fathers, the visits take place several times a year. And for 27% there are no visits at all.”
Those numbers reveal only half of fathers who live apart from their kids get to see them at least once a month. Another alarming number reveals nearly one-third of fathers who do not live with their children say they talk or exchange emails with them less than once a month.
Given non-custodial fathers’ diminished role and lack of access, it’s no surprise that only 49% of fathers say they are doing a very good or good job as fathers to the children they live apart from.
Among fathers who live with their children, nearly nine-in-ten say they are doing a very good (44%) or good (44%) job as fathers to those children.
“A father’s presence or absence in the home is closely related to how he evaluates the job he is doing as a parent,” the study summarizes.
Richard Thomas, a board member with Illinois Fathers who contributed a divorce article about the importance of dads, wrote: “We desperately need to devise ways to get across to family law courts just how much preventable damage they are doing. Children spell their love T-I-M-E, and parents cannot transfer their unique contribution to their children when the time to do so has been unjustly stripped from them by the courts.”
Let’s work together to move our family courts towards maximum involvement between children and parents.
The domestic litigation firm of Cordell & Cordell fights to maximize fathers’ roles in their kids’ lives. To set up an appointment, contact Cordell & Cordell.