All too often, it is assumed that young men do not want to be involved in their children’s lives. This perception can prevent young fathers from being involved in decision making regarding the young man’s baby. The reality is that most teen fathers do want to be involved in their child’s life and are concerned about their child’s future; they just need to be given a chance to grow in the role as a father. According to a researcher at UC San Francisco, “Young fathers who are left without resources or social supports struggle to sustain a positive presence in their child’s life, as well as maintain a supportive relationship with the child’s mother.” Programs should understand that, at birth, fully 99 percent of fathers and 96 percent of mothers want the dad to be involved in the child’s upbringing. Due to a number of factors, many young dads will never receive adequate support or opportunity to develop a relationship with his child.

The Link listed below is a very interesting article about fatherhood from The Telegraph, please read.

The National Center for Fathering -

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.

90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.

85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)

80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26)

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report)

Father Factor in Education – Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.

Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.

Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.

Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.

75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in a two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.

70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)

85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)

Father Factor in Incarceration – Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately 46% of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.

Father Factor in Crime – A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. 42% grew up in a single-mother household and 16% lived with neither parent.

Father Factor in Child Abuse – Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children for every 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 for every 1,000.

Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.

Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.

43% of U.S. children live without their father [U.S. Department of Census]

90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]

80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]

71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]

85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]

90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother. [Wray Herbert, “Dousing the Kindlers,” Psychology Today, January, 1985, p. 28]

71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. [National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools]

75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. [Rainbows for all God’s Children]

70% of juveniles in state operated institutions have no father. [U.S. Department of Justice, Special Report, Sept. 1988]

85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992]

Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. [U.S. D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999]

Census Fatherhood Statistics

64.3 million: Estimated number of fathers across the nation
26.5 million: Number of fathers who are part of married-couple families with their own children under the age of 18.
Among these fathers –

22 percent are raising three or more of their own children under 18 years old (among married-couple family households only).
2 percent live in the home of a relative or a non-relative.

2.5 million: Number of single fathers, up from 400,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18% are men.
Among these fathers –

8% are raising three or more of their own children under 18 years old.
42% are divorced, 38% have never married, 16% are separated and 4% are widowed. (The percentages of those divorced and never married are not significantly different from one another.)
16% live in the home of a relative or a non-relative.
27% have an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

85%: Among the 30.2 million fathers living with children younger than 18, the percentage who lived with their biological children only.

11% lived with step-children
4% with adopted children
< 1% with foster children

Recent policies encourage the development of programs designed to improve the economic status of low-income nonresident fathers and the financial and emotional support provided to their children. This brief provides ten key lessons from several important early responsible fatherhood initiatives that were developed and implemented during the 1990s and early 2000s. Formal evaluations of these earlier fatherhood efforts have been completed making this an opportune time to step back and assess what has been learned and how to build on the early programs’ successes and challenges.While the following statistics are formidable, the Responsible Fatherhood research literature generally supports the claim that a loving and nurturing father improves outcomes for children, families and communities.

Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
Studies on parent-child relationships and child wellbeing show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.
24 million children (34%) live absent their biological father.
Nearly 20 million children (27%) live in single-parent homes.
43% of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60% of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not.
Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.
About 40% of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26% of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50% of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father’s home.
Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
From 1995 to 2000, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes slightly declined, while the proportion of children living with two married parents remained stable.

Legal Statutes:

Is mediation better than a court setting for determining child custody arrangements?

Mediation is a great way to come to terms for a custody agreement instead of child custody lawsuits. The process of mediation works when the two parties, most of the time both parents in child custody situations, agree to sit down with a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator's job is to invoke discussion between the two parties and help them come to some middle ground on which to settle.

There are some great advantages to using mediation over litigation. First and foremost, it is a lot cheaper. Mediation often does not require either side to bring an attorney with, not does it require witnesses or other court time. This can save lots of money on both sides. Second, mediation by itself improves communication between the two disputing parties. By opening an honest discussion, many times problems can be resolve and the child will benefit the most by having both parents thinking along the same lines. Lastly, mediation is much faster than litigation. Litigation can often run for several months of court time, during which the fate of your child's upbringing causes you considerable stress. Mediation, on the other hand, often ends in settlement in as little as ten hours of discussion spread over two weeks.

Custody and Dissolution: The link below will connect you to Family Service Rochester. FSR offers a four week series on Custody and Dissolution, 10 times in a calendar year at a cost of $75. They provide helpful and accurate information and guidance during this transitional period.

Family Service Rochester - "We help families gain the tools needed to build positive family relationships during and after dissolution."

Custody FAQ's

When considering who should get custody of a child, what factors does a court look at?

In almost all situations, a court will keep one primary question in mind when deciding a custody case, namely, what is in the best interests of the child? To answer this question, courts generally look at a number of different factors, such as:

  • A parent's financial and physical ability to provide a child with essentials like food, medical care, shelter and clothing
  • A parent's medical history, both physical and mental
  • The child's age, sex and medical history, both physical and mental
  • A parent's vocation and habits, including things like excessive drinking or smoking
  • The child's choice if the child is of a certain age, normally 12 years old
  • The emotional bond between child and parent
  • The wishes of both parents
  • The willingness of each parent to support the child's relationship with the other parent
  • The level of adjustment needed from the child if forced to move to a new school, city, or state
  • The quality of life the child enjoys in the child's current status quo
  • Whether any parent has brought false or malicious charges of child abuse on the other parent.

If, upon looking at all of these factors, a court cannot decide what is in the best interests of the child, courts normally tend to look closely at which parent would most likely provide the child with a stable household. This can vary depending on the child's age. If the child is young, custody may go to the primary caregiver. However, if the child is older, custody may be awarded to the parent that is better situated to provide the child with access to education, friends, and social development.

Does it hurt my chances of getting custody of my children if I move out of the home and leave the children with their other parent?

In short, yes, it probably will hurt your chances of getting custody of your children. Parents that leave the home, even for good reasons, may have a lesser chance of getting custody of the children when it comes time to go to court. By leaving, the judge will see an implied message from the parent's actions. Also, assuming that the parent left the family home, a judge will probably be more inclined to grant custody to the parent that is currently residing in the home so as to disrupt the children's status quo as little as possible.

However, if you take the children when you leave the home, this may send a message to the judge that you are trying to protect your children. If you do move away from home and take the children with you, you need to be sure to go to court as soon as possible so that it does not look like you are attempting to take the children away unlawfully. If you do not set up a court appointment soon after taking the children away from the home, the other parent may ask the judge to take the children away from you as you took them without court authorization.

Who is more likely to be awarded custody of a child, mothers or fathers?

Although it has not always been so, today's courts will generally award custody to whichever parent would be in the best interests of the child. However, in the past, custody of young children (typically under 5 years old) normally went to the mother of the child if the parents divorced. This rule has been phased out in almost every state, and instead, judges must decide on the merits of the case which parent having custody would be in the best interests of the child.

However, just because the rule has been phased out, that does not mean that parents cannot ask a judge to award custody to the mother. Sometimes parents will agree that the mother has more time and inclination to raise the children, and will stipulate to such an order. However, some fathers may only stipulate to this arrangement because they believe that the court already favors the mother, which is not true.

Fathers have every right to ask for, and argue for, full custody of the children during a divorce. These days, both men and women commonly enter into the workforce full-time, meaning that the custody decision could be as simple as which parent could spend the most time with the child, all other factors being equal. For example, if a father works from home while the mother works a 60+ hour a week job as a corporate attorney, a judge may decide that the best interests of the child are to be with the parent that can spend the most time with the child, which would be the father in this example. Fathers are just as willing and able to be parents as mothers, and they can present that argument in court.

Is custody always awarded to just one parent?

In short, no. It is very common for a court to award partial custody to both parents, otherwise known as joint custody. This type of custody arrangement normally falls into one of three forms. First, joint physical custody is where a court orders a child to spend a substantial amount of time with both parents during the course of the year. Second, joint legal custody is where, although one parent may have full physical custody, both parents must agree on any decisions that impact the child, such as their education, medical care and spiritual matters. Lastly, both joint physical and legal custody is a combination of the first two.

It is ultimately up to the court to decide whether any type of joint custody is in the best interests of a child. However, you, as a parent, have the right to argue for joint custody if you so wish it.

If litigation is necessary- 

The link listed below will help you find lawyers that will assist you with any Family Law questions you may have: