Single Father Households on the Rise in Texas

Over the past several decades, Americans' traditional view of the family has changed. Gone are the June Cleavers, Harriet Nelsons and Margaret Andersons of the world. Now, single parents are becoming more commonplace. In 2010, the United States Census Bureau reported nearly 34 percent of families with children had only one parent in the household. These figures are up from 29 percent in 2000. While most single-parent households are headed by women, the new data also revealed a significant and continuing increase in the number of single fathers raising children.

Ten years ago in Tarrant County, Texas, three out of every 100 households were headed by single fathers. Today, that number has increased to four out of 100. In other parts of the Lonestar State, the numbers are as high as 6 out of 100 households.

Other areas of the nation have noted marked changes as well. Maryland now has about 47,200 single-father households-an increase of nearly 6,000 since the year 2000. This 14 percent rise is consistent with Michigan's, which now reports 91,000 households headed by single dads. In Wisconsin, 15,000 more households are headed by fathers than in the previous census. This change represented a 35 percent increase. With an additional 51,206 male-headed households in California, the number is 17 percent higher there than it was in the year 2000.

Some experts attribute the increase to more work opportunities for women in our cultural landscape. In addition, many men have opted to be more involved with their children and are not criticized for playing these more active roles in their children's lives.

Regardless of the reason for single-parent households, child custody issues can be complex. Some may feel rights are generally in favor of mothers; however, studies show that men and women are equally effective in raising children. Also, the courts have eliminated "tender years presumptions," which once discriminated against fathers who wanted to raise children.

Still, complex custody matters often require the help of experienced legal counsel. If you are considering divorce and have child custody or support questions, it is best to contact an attorney to discuss your situation.