Recent studies consistently show that children benefit when parenting time is nearly equal between mothers and fathers. Unfortunately, the law is still catching up to science. According to STAT, even some psychologists believe that in custody decisions involving young children, it is in their interest for the mother to have a majority of the parenting time, and courts may defer to their judgment.
According to Pew Research, 63% of fathers feel they do not spend enough time with their children. Of those fathers, 20% say that the reason is that the children do not live with them all the time. Fathers in certain groups are less likely to live with their children than others.
Race and ethnicity
When it comes to whether fathers live apart from their children, there is a disparate impact on people of color. Forty-seven percent of black fathers live apart from some of their children, and 36% live apart from all of their children. While only 5% of white fathers live apart from some of their children and 11% live apart from all of their children, 26% of Hispanic fathers live apart from at least some of their children, while 17% live apart from all of them.
Only 8% of fathers with a bachelor’s degree live apart from at least some of their children, while 6% live apart from all of their children. By contrast, 20% of men who achieved an educational level of some college or less live apart from all of their children.
Altogether, nearly one out of every four fathers of children 17 years old or younger in the United States lives apart from at least one of his children. As the research affirming the benefits of shared parenting becomes more widely known, it may become more influential on custody decisions.