The Hidden Dangers of How Family Courts Keep Fathers Out of the Picture
November 15, 2021
Dads’ Resource Center puts the spotlight on how dads are shut out
Most people know that around half of all marriages in the country end in divorce. What they don’t know are the statistics of what happens with custody issues when there are children involved. One organization is leading a movement to make people more aware of how the system is set up to leave dads out in the cold. When that happens, children and society as a whole suffer. When Dad doesn’t get ample amount of time with his children, it is the children who pay the price with their development being negatively impacted.
“Unfortunately, many judges, lawyers, guardian ad litems, as well as county and state agencies, and the welfare system, are all culpable in creating, or at least exasperating, this very serious problem,” said Dads’ Resource Center Founder Dr. Joel N. Myers. “Whatever their well-meaning intentions might be, they play big roles in maintaining and bolstering a system that discourages, inhibits or flat-out denies children from having access to their fathers.”
A Dads’ Resource Center study of 700 contested custody cases found that on average these courts awarded mothers 69% and fathers 31% of custody time. Mothers were given either full or primary custody in 496 of these cases, fathers received either full or primary custody in 100 of these cases and the parents were awarded joint custody in 104 of these cases.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 22 million children have a parent who lives outside of the household, which is around a quarter of all children. It further reports that 4 out of every 5 children’s custodial parent is their mother. Only one out of every five custodial parents are fathers. While the percentage of fathers who are the custodial parent has increased over the years, they are still being granted custodial rights far less often. In 1994, 16% of custodial parents were the father, and by 2018, only 20% of custodial parents are the father.
Many of the fathers who are not granted the custodial parent position get very little time with their child. According to the NLSY97 Analysis Executive Summary by Dads’ Resource Center, some of the hidden dangers are that those children are:
- Less likely to graduate from high school or graduate from college.
- Less likely to vote, donate to charity, or volunteer their time.
- More likely to have been convicted of a crime, use hard drugs, and smoke.
- More likely to have intercourse before age 17 and to need mental health treatment.
- More likely to make less money per year as an adult and much more likely to use government welfare programs
“Family courts and the human services systems were set up to protect children,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “But there is a clear and pervasive pattern where they harm children by needlessly denying their fathers access to them. This has gone on far too long. Major reform is needed.”
Dads’ Resource Center was started by Dr. Myers, a father of eight and the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. The mission is to help combat the issues associated with children growing up without their fathers in the home.At its heart, the center is a child advocacy organization that aims to ensure that each child has the appropriate involvement and contributions from both parents.
Dads’ Resource Center has been established to benefit children of separated or divorced parents by advocating the importance of fathers having adequate opportunities to fulfill their role of fatherhood. The group helps get information regarding the issues out to the public and works with fathers to help make improvements. To get more information, visit the site at: https://dadsrc.org.