According to the Pew Research Center, dads are spending more time with their kids than they used to. Moms still handle more of the child care, but dads are catching up. Unfortunately, 63 percent of U.S. dads say they spend too little time with their children.
The same isn’t true for moms. Only about 35 percent of mothers say they spend too little time with their kids, while 12 percent say they spend too much. The majority, or about 53 percent, said they spent about the right amount of time with their kids, compared to only 36 percent of fathers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most commonly cited reason was work. Of those who wished they could spend more time with their children, 62 percent of fathers and 54 percent of mothers said work obligations interfered. However, 20 percent of dads said the reason was that their children don’t live with them full time. Only 8 percent of mothers said that.
How many American fathers are living apart from their kids?
According to the survey, 24 percent of all fathers live apart from at least some of their children. The reason is probably most often a divorce or breakup, but the survey didn’t specify the reason.
The research found a number of other factors associated with whether dads lived apart from their children. Race, unfortunately, had a strong association. African-American fathers are much more likely than others to live apart from their children. Fully 47 percent of African-American dads live apart from some or all of their children, compared with 26 percent of Latinos and 17 percent of whites. Also, dads with a bachelor’s degree or higher were much less likely to live apart from their kids — 8 percent vs. 28 percent for those who had completed only some college or less education.
Fathers without bachelor’s degrees were also more likely to say they didn’t spend enough time with their kids than those with that degree or higher. Of those who had completed only some college or less, 69 percent said they wished they could spend more time with their children. That compares to only 50 percent of those with college degrees or more education.
These trends are quite interesting, and many useful connections can probably be made. It’s important to remember, however, that the outcome in any specific child custody and parenting case can’t be predicted by a trend. If you’re involved in a custody case, your lawyer should discuss the factors courts take into account. Under Pennsylvania law, a parent’s gender cannot be used as a factor in any child custody decision.