Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life. But when parents divorce or separate, complications often develop over the amount of parenting time for former partners. Even co-parents who still get along can disagree over custody and visitation.
One of the hurdles fathers face is the stereotype that the courts always favor mothers in child custody disputes. However, the rights of both parents are considered equal under Pennsylvania law. Still, statistics show that dads receive significantly less parenting time in the Keystone State.
Where Pennsylvania fathers rank in custody allocation
A recent study looked at fathers’ shares of parenting time in all 50 states. Twenty states tied for first place, with custody split evenly at 50%. The national average shows dads receive about 35% of parenting time. But in Pennsylvania, divorced or separated fathers ranked 31st in the survey, receiving just over 28% of parenting time.
Other nationwide custody statistics
Careers, location and several other factors influence custody decisions. Employment website Legal Jobs conducted a study last year drawing these conclusions about child custody:
- 90% of parents settle custody without a judge’s ruling
- The U.S. has 12.9 million custodial parents
- Nearly three-quarters of custodial fathers have full-time jobs
- Both parents agree mothers should have custody in 51% of cases
- Moms make up almost 80% of custodial parents
- Only 4% of custody cases go to trial
The study reflects that custody cases follow a political pattern, with fathers getting a higher percentage of parenting time, on average, in blue states.
Dads continue to fight the stigma of being single parents
While fathers have equal footing in the eyes of the law in Pennsylvania, many still believe mothers will always receive the benefit of the doubt in custody and visitation matters. However, obtaining experienced legal advice is crucial before you agree to a custody arrangement.
While custody orders can be modified later on, it can be more difficult when dads agree to initial temporary or permanent arrangements that result in limited access to their kids. The court will look at that plan when determining your future parenting role.