Increase in Stay-At-Home Dads May Lead To a Shift in Primary Custody

Determining which parent should receive primary custody of a child when a couple divorces can be a complex process. In Illinois, child custody laws are governed by statute under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (‘The Act”).

The Act is written to be gender-neutral and does not favor one parent over the other, and rather focuses on the best interest of a child as the primary indicator of who should be awarded custody. However, it is no surprise that in cases where one parent stays at home with the children, judges tend to award primary custody to that parent.

Traditionally, it was more common for a mother to stay at home and take care of the children while a father worked and provided financial support for the family. Nowadays, with an increase in working moms and a growing trend of stay-at-home dads, the roles have reversed. With the growing number of dads who physically stay home with the kids while moms remain in the working world to pursue their careers, it is not shocking that dads are actually being awarded primary custody of their children.

The Number of Stay at Home Dads has Increased Since 1989

According to Pew Research, the number of dads who remain at home to care for their family has almost doubled from 1.1 million to 2 million during 1989-2012. Although the recession was a contributing factor as to why dads ended up staying at home during 2007-2009, we are seeing more and more dads that are making the conscious decision to stay at home to physically care for their families. In fact, back in 1989 when fathers were asked why they stayed at home, only 5 percent admitted that it was to care for their family. The majority of the dads claimed that it was because they were ill or disabled.

In 2012, when dads were asked the same question, 21 percent of them admitted that it was to care for their families. Maybe this is because more mothers are adamant on pursuing their careers or because society is becoming more general-neutral, but it is undeniable that in some cases it is in the best interest of a child to remain with their father.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Child Custody Lawyer

If you are contemplating divorce in the Illinois area and are concerned about receiving custody of your children, please contact one of our DuPage County child custody attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today. Our lawyers are well versed in Illinois child custody laws and will help you show the judge that remaining with you is in the children’s best interest.