DATA & STUDIES SUPPORTING THE NEED FOR EQUAL PARENTING
(originally composed in 1996)
Compiled and written back in 1996, out of frustration with the existing family court system, and its lack of true concern for the children of divorce and paternity cases. We have been studying family court guidelines, rulings, and legislative proposals pertaining to the family court guidelines for a few years now, and see a desperate need for real changes.
We are here to proclaim that the judicial system, with its sweeping discretion, is grossly failing Wisconsin’s children.
The family court system, operating under the “best interest of the child standard”, has become a forum for tug-o-war, where the children are the financial and emotional trophy to be “won”. Consequently, thousands of children are unnecessarily deprived the opportunity to maintain a full relationship with each parent.
Many legislators, and much of the public, are unaware of the magnitude of the problems arising from the discretionary decisions being made by the judiciary, operating under the “best interest of the child” standard of the current family court guidelines.
In today’s troubled world, when children of divorce, or paternity cases, have two fit parents who want to remain significantly involved in their children’s lives, we should be delighted! Such children should be considered, very fortunate; however, they are generally not, as a result of family court discretion.
In a deluded attempt to reduce conflict, the courts are overwhelmingly reducing one parent, usually the father, to the role of an occasional visitor/baby sitter; as if empowering one parent as the superior, supposedly will cease conflict. Yes, one parent will have the upper hand to finalize disputes, however, in reality, such arrangements actually increase conflict, as they merely cause the problems to fester.
Part of the tragedy is that, in reality, these courts have neither the time, nor the expertise to determine which parent is the truly “better parent”. Yet the role of one parent is officially deemed to be of little significance, and their main parental role is only permitted to be financial. The frequent, and logical, result of this arrangement is that the “non-custodial parent” (typically the father) tends to have progressively decreasing involvement with the child, as time goes on, until that parent ends up being nothing but a paycheck and a periodic baby sitter.
The following data outlines the clear predominance of sole custody awards, and some of the many resulting harmful effects. As the data reveals, this inflicts significant, harmful, long term effects on these children which could, and should, be prevented in thousands of cases, through the enactment of a presumption of equal-parenting laws.
The courts, media, and legislature must start to understand that a child’s best interest is a whole lot more than financial. We need our elected officials to take a stand to stop this tragedy that is affecting our society as a whole. There needs to be legal recognition of both parents equal rights, equal value placed on their respective roles, and equal opportunity to develop in those roles.
Mutual respect and cooperation between parents is best accomplished when both parties are acknowledged for their status as equals. The evidence reveals, the true “best interest of the child” in family court, is to take children out of their current position as financial and emotional trophies, and to presume that both parents, providing they are fit, should have maximum/equal opportunity to parent them. The courts need to stop declaring a “winner” and a “loser” with regard to child placement decisions. They need to take away the incentive, and the ability, for parents to battle over the children.
Furthermore, children need the opportunity to benefit from, and internalize both parents methods, input, and morals. And this all requires significant parenting time. Each parent needs the autonomy to develop a personal style and method of child rearing, with minimal interference from the other parent or the state.
We ask – who are judges, court commissioners, you, or I, to involuntarily deny a fit parent from an equal opportunity to care for, and nurture, their child?
And more importantly who are we to deny that child that opportunity of equal access to that parent?
When children have two fit, interested parents, they deserve the opportunity for a full/equal relationship with both parents. We are calling for the enactment a presumption of equal-parenting laws (eg. LRB1834, ready for introduction) to limit the discretion of the judiciary to cases that exhibit evidence of abuse or neglect. Opposing such a presumption, condones that children are of tokens to be fought over, and is truly child abuse at the hand of the legislature.
Note: Take into serious consideration that attorneys, court commissioners, and others employed by the system, who object to a presumption of equal parenting opportunities, have a vested interest in the status quo. (i.e. their criticism is often voice out of concern for personal job security).
PREVALENCE OF SOLE (AND MATERNAL) CUSTODY
1. The proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9% in 1960 to 25% in 1990.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, “Family Life Today…And How it has Changed” SB/92-13 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office: November 1992)
2. In 1993, 27% of children under 18 years old lived with only one parent, up from 12% in 1970.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, “Gap Narrows Between Children Living with a Divorced or Single Parent, Census Bureau Finds,” by Arlene Saluter (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, July 20, 1994)
3. More than 90% of litigated divorces result in an award of sole custody to the mother.
Source: 1991 Census Bureau
4. The number of children living only with mother grew from 8% (5.1 million) in 1960 to 23.3% (15.6 million) in 1993. Source: U.S. Congress, Committee on Ways and Means, “The Green Book” (Washington D.C., 1993); see also U.S. department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, “Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1993”, by Arlene Saluter, Current Population Reports: Population Characteristics P20-478 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, May 1994).
5. The chances that a child born around 1980 will not be living with both biological parents at age 17 have increased to over 50%.
Source: Donald J. Hernandez, “America’s Children: Resources from Family, Government, and the Economy (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1993).
6. About 40% of the children who live in fatherless households haven’t seen their fathers in at least a year. Of the remaining 60%, only 20% sleep even one night per month in the father’s home. Only one in six sees their father an average of once or more per week.
Source: Frank F. Furstenberg Jr. and Christing Winquist Nord, “Parenting Apart: Patterns of Child Rearing After Marital Disruption,” Journal of Marriage and the Family (November 1985), p.896.
7. In disrupted families, only one child in six, on average, saw his or her father as often as once a week in the past year. Close to half did not see their father at all in the past year. As time goes on, contact becomes even more infrequent. Ten years after a marriage breaks up, more than two- thirds of children report not having seen their father for a year.
Source: National Commission on Children, “Speaking of Kids: A National Survey of Children and Parents” (Washington, D.C., 1991).
8. With increasing numbers of children living with only their mothers, many children have tenuous or nonexistent relationships with their fathers. In a 1990 survey, only one-third of children in female-headed families reported seeing their fathers at least once a week. Nearly one in five children in female-headed families had not seen their fathers for five years.
Source: National Commission on Children, “Speaking of Kids: A National Survey of Children and Parents (Washington, 1991).
9. The United States is now the world’s leader in fatherless families. In 1986, the United States took over first place, when 24% of America’s families were headed by a single parent, and today nearly 30% of families in the United States are headed by a single parent.
Source: Alisa Burns, “Mother Headed Families: An International Perspective and the Case of Australia,” Social Policy Report 6 (Spring 1992).
10. America has the highest divorce rate in the world. At present rates, approximately half of all U.S. marriages can be expected to end in divorce.
Source: National Commission on Children, “Just the Facts: A Summary of Recent Information on America’s Children and Their Families” (Washington D.C., 1993).
11. 55% of all white children, and 75% of all black children born in the last two decades are likely to live some portion of their childhood with an absent father.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, “Divorce, Child Custody, and Child Support,” Current Population Reports Ser p-23 No. 84 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1979); and L.L Bumpass and J.A. Sweet, “Children’s Experience in Single-Parent Families: Implications of Cohabitation and Marital Transitions,” Family Planning Perspectives 21 (1989), pp.256-260.
12. During the last three decades, the percentage of children living with a step-parent has climbed from 6.7% to 11.3%. More than 9 out of 10 step-children live with their biological mother and a stepfather.
Source: David Popenoe, “The Evolution of Marriage and the Problem of Stepfamilies: A Biosocial Perspective,” paper presented at the National Symposium on Stepfamilies at the Pennsylvania State University. University Park, PA, October 14, 1993.
EMOTIONAL/BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH SOLE CUSTODY
1. The continued involvement of the non-custodial parent in the child’s life appears crucial in preventing an intense sense of loss in the child… The importance of the relationship with the non-custodial parent may also have implications for the legal issues of custodial arrangements and visitation. The results of this study indicate that arrangements where both parents are equally involved with the child are optimal. When this type of arrangement is not possible, the child’s continued relationship with the non-custodial parent remains essential.
Source: Young Adult Children of Divorced Parents: Depression and the Perception of Loss, Rebecca L. Drill, P.h.D., Harvard University. Journal of Divorce, V.10, #1/2, Fall/Winter 1986.
2. “Parental divorce and father loss has been associated with difficulties in school adjustment (e.g. Felner, Ginter, Boike, & CowenJ), social adjustment (e.g. Fry & Grover) and personal adjustment (e.g. Covell & Turnbull)…” “The results of the present study suggest that father loss through divorce is associated with diminished self-concepts in children…at least for this sample from the midwestern United States.”
Source: Children’s Self Concepts: Are They Affected by Parental Divorce and Remarriage; Thomas S. Parish, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 1987, V.2, #4, 559-562.
3. “It is ironic, and of some interest, that we have subjected joint custody to a level and intensity of scrutiny that was never directed towards the traditional post-divorce arrangement (sole legal and physical custody to the mother and two weekends each month of visiting to the father). Developmental and relationship theory should have alerted the mental health field to the potential immediate and long range consequences for the child of only seeing a parent for four days each month. And yet until recently, there was no particular challenge to this traditional post-divorce parenting arrangement, despite growing evidence that such post-divorce relationships were not sufficiently nurturing or stabilizing for many children and parents.”
4. “There is some evidence that in our well-meaning efforts to save children in the immediate post-separation period from anxiety, confusion, and the normative divorce-engendered conflict, we have set the stage in the longer run for the more ominous symptoms of anger, depression, and a deep sense of loss by depriving the child of the opportunity to maintain a full relationship with each parent.”
Source: Examining Resistance to Joint Custody, Monograph by Joan Kelly, P.h.D. (associate of Judith Wallerstein, P.h.D.) From the 1991 Book Joint Custody and Shared Parenting, second edition, Guilford Press, 1991.
5. Nunan compared 20 joint custody children (ages 7-11) with 20 age-matched children in sole maternal custody. All families were at least two years after separation or divorce. Joint custody children were found to have higher ego strengths, superego strengths and self-esteem than the single custody children. The joint custody children were also found to be less excitable and less impatient than their sole custody counterparts.
Source: S.A. Nunan, “Joint Custody vs. Single Custody Effects on Child Development”, Doctoral thesis 1980. California School of Professional Psychology, Berkeley, UMI No. 81-10142
6. Welsh-Osga compared children intact families with joint custody and single custody families. Age range 4.5 to 10 years old. Children from joint custody were found to be more satisfied with the time spent with both parents. Parents in joint custody were found to be more involved with their children. (Joint custody parents found to be less overburdened by parenting responsibilities than sole custody parents).
Source: B. Welsh-Osga, “The Effects of Custody Arrangements on Children of Divorce.” Doctoral thesis, 1981. University of South Dakota, UMI No.82-6914.
7. Cowan compared 20 joint custody and 20 sole (maternal) custody families. Children in joint custody were rated as better adjusted by their mothers compared with children of sole custody mothers. The children’s perceptions in sole custody situations correlated with the amount of time spent with their father! The more time children from sole maternal custody spent with their fathers, the more accepting BOTH parents were perceived to be, and the more well-adjusted were the children.
Source: D.B. Cowan, “Mother Custody vs. Joint Custody: Children’s Parental Relationship and Adjustment.” Doctoral Thesis, 1982. University of Washington. UMI No. 82-18213
8. Pojman compared children in the age range 5 to 13 years old. Boys in joint custody were significantly better adjusted than boys in sole maternal custody. Comparing boys in all groups, boys in joint custody compared very similarly to boys from happy families.
Source: E.G. Pojman. “Emotional Adjustment of Boys in Sole and Joint Custody Compared with Adjustment of Boys in Happy and Unhappy Marriages.” Doctoral thesis 1982. California Graduate Institute. UMI No. ? Source of similar finding: V. Shiller. “Joint and Maternal Custody: The Outcome for Boys aged 6-11 and Their Parents.” Doctoral thesis 1984. University of Deleware. UMI No. 85-11219. Source of similar finding: J. Schaub, “Joint Custody After Divorce: Views and Attitudes of Mental Health Professionals and Writers.” Rutgers University,Doctoral Thesis, 1986. No. 86-14559
9. 90 fathers were questioned regarding how unequal recognition of parental rights might encourage conflict. Joint legal custody was found to encourage parental cooperation and discourage self-interest. Sole custody in both custodial AND non-custodial status encouraged punishment-oriented persuasion strategies. Unequal custody power was perceived as inhibiting parental cooperation by BOTH parents.
Source: M.R. Patrician. “The Effects of Legal Child-Custody Status on Persuasion Strategy Choices and Communication Goals of Fathers.” Doctoral thesis 1984. University of San Francisco. UMI No. 85-14995.
10. Self Esteem found higher in children of joint custody. Children in joint custody report significantly more positive experiences than children of sole maternal custody.
Source: S.A. Wolchik, S.L. Braver and I.N. Sandler. J. of Clinical Child Psychology. Vol. 14, p.5-10, 1985.
11. Age range of children 5 to 12 years, studying early period of separation or divorce. Boys and girls in sole custody situation had more negative involvement with their parents than in joint custody situations. There was an increase reported in sibling rivalry reported for sole custody children when visiting their father (non-custodial parent). Girls in joint custody reported to have significantly higher self-esteem than girls in sole custody.
Source: E.B. Karp. Children’s Adjustment in Joint and Single Custody: An Empirical Study. Doctoral thesis 1982. California school of professional psychology, Berkeley. UMI No. 83-6977.
12. Comparative study of children in mother sole custody, father sole custody, joint custody with mother primary, joint custody with father primary. Children in joint custody situations were found to be better adjusted than children in sole custody situations.
Source: J.A. Livingston. “Children After Divorce: A Psychosocial Analysis of the Effects of Custody on Self-esteem.” Doctoral thesis 1983. University of Vermont. UMI No. 83-26981.
13. Nationally, 19.1% of children from 3 to 17 years old, living only with their biological mother, and 23.6% of those living with their biological mother and stepfather, exhibit a significant emotional or behavioral problem. This compares to only 8.3% of children living with both biological parents.
Source: N. Zill and C. Schoenborn, “Developmental, Learning, and Emotional Problems: Health of our Nation’s Children”, National Center for Health Statistics, Advance Data, 190 (November 16, 1990).
14. Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent. Source: Jean Bethke Elshtain, “Family Matters: The Plight of America’s Children”, The Christian Century (July 1993), pp. 14-21.
15. Fatherless children are at dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teenage pregnancy and criminality.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, “Survey on Child Health” (Washington, D.C., 1993).
16. Children who live apart from their fathers are 4.3 times more likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers than children growing up with their fathers in the home:
Source: Warren R. Stanton, Tian P.S. Oci, and Phil A. Silva, “Sociodemographic Characteristics of Adolescent Smokers,” The International Journal of the Addictions (1994), pp.913-925.
SOLE CUSTODY AND CRIME
1. A 1988 study found that the proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rate of violent crime and burglary, but the community’s poverty level does not.
Source: Douglas A. Smith and G. Roger Jarjoura, “Social Structure and Criminal Victimization,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 25 (February 1988), pp.27-52.
2. “If you look at the one factor that most closely correlates with crime, it’s not poverty, it’s not unemployment, it’s not education. It’s the absence of the father in the family.”
Source: Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, 1994 30. “Children are the fastest growing segment of the criminal population in the United States.” Source: U.S. Department of Justice, 1992
3. 87% of Wisconsin juvenile delinquents are a product of father-absent homes.
Source: Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, 1994
4. 72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers.
Source: Dewey Cornell, et. al., “Characteristics of Adolescents Charged with Homicide,” Behavioral Sciences and the Law 5 (1987), pp.11-23. Source: U.S. Department of Justice data, 1991
5. 60% of America’s rapists grew up in homes without fathers.
Source: Nicholas Davidson, “Life Without Father,” Policy Review (1990); see also Karl Zinsmeister, “Crime is Terrorizing Our Nation’s Kids,” Citizen (Pamona, CA: Focus on the Family, Aug. 20, 1990), p.12 Source: U.S. Department of Justice data, 1991
6. The relationship (between family structure and crime) is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature.”
Source: Elaine Kamarack and William Galston, “Putting Children First: A Progressive Family Policy for the 1990’s” (Washington D.C.: Progressive Policy Institute, September 1990).
7. 70% of the juveniles in state reform institutions grew up in single- or no-parent situations.
Source: Allen Beck, Susan Kline, and Lawrence Greenfield, “Survey of Youth in Custody, 1987”, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, September 1988.
8. 70% of long-term prisoners grew up in father-absent homes.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice data, 1991
GENERAL PROBLEMS RELATED TO SOLE CUSTODY
1. Almost half of all mothers see no value in the father’s continued contact with his children following separation or divorce, and up to 40% of mothers interfere with the dad’s relationship with his kids.
Source: Sanford Braver, a University of Arizona psychologist
2. Only half of divorced mothers value the absent father’s continued contact with his children. One-fifth saw no value in continued contact whatsoever, and “…actively tried to sabotage the meetings by sending the children away just before the father’s arrival, by insisting that the child was ill or had pressing homework to do, by making a scene, or by leaving the children with the husband and disappearing.”
Source: Judith S. Wallerstein and Joan Berlin Kelly P.h.D., “Surviving the Breakup:How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce” (New York: Basic Books, 1990), p.125.
3. Williams studied high-conflict, high-risk situations. He found that children in sole custody (typically but not exclusively maternal) much more likely to be subject to parental kidnapping and/or physical harm. He found that high-conflict families do better and are more likely to learn cooperative behavior when given highly detailed orders from the judge.
Source: F.S. Williams. “Child Custody and Parental Cooperation.” American Bar Association, Family Law, August 1987.
4. More than 50% of all children who don’t live with their father have never been in their father’s home.
Source: Frank Furstenberg and Andrew Cherlin, “Divided Families: What Happens to Children When Parents Part” (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).
5. Based on a national study following 13,000 14- to 21-year-olds beginning in 1975, it was found that, whereas 57% of unwed fathers with children no older than 2 years of age visited their children more than once a week, only 23% were in frequent contact with their children at age 2-1/2 years or older
Source: Robert Lerman and Theodora J. Ooms, “Young Unwed Fathers: Changing Roles and Emerging Policies” (Philadelphia: Temple, 1993), p.45.
6. When asked whether they felt their parents “really care” about them, 97% of children ages 10 to 17 living with both biological parents said “yes” for their fathers. Of children living in a stepfamily, only 71% said “yes” for their fathers. And of children living with only one parent, only 55% said “yes” for their fathers.
Source: The National Commission on Children, “Speaking of Kids: A National Survey of Children and Parents” (Washington, D.C.: 1991).
7. On average, single mothers spend roughly one-third less time each week than married mothers in primary child care activities such as dressing, feeding, chauffeuring,talking, playing or helping with homework.
Source: John P. Robinson, “How Americans Use Time: A Social Psychological Analysis of Everyday Behavior” (New York, Praeger, 1977), p.70; see also John P.Robinson, “Caring for Kids”, American Demographics (July 1989).
8. Even for fathers who maintain regular contact, the pattern of father-child relationships changes. Fathers behave more like relatives than like parents. Instead of helping with homework or carrying out a project with their children, nonresidential fathers are likely to take the kids shopping, to the movies, or out to dinner. Insteadof providing steady advice and guidance, divorced fathers become “treat” dads.
Source: Frank Furstenberg, Jr. and Andrew Cherlin, “Divided Families: What Happens to Children When Parents Part” (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 10.
9. Between 1971 and 1981, Judith S. Wallerstein conducted a study of 60 families who experience divorce. Included in the study were 131 children and 60 adolescents. Interviews were conducted periodically between 1971 and 1981. Wallerstein reached the following conclusions:
10 years after the divorce, children of divorce felt “less protected, less cared for, less comforted… these children (had) vivid, gut-wrenching memories of their parents’ separation.”
Many five- to eight-year-old boys showed “an intense longing for theirfathers” after the divorce, that seemed physically painful.
Many fathers who moved out of the house found it difficult to sustain a close and loving relationship with their children, especially if one or both parents remarried. Yet, children tenaciously held onto an internal image, sometimes a fantasy image, of their absent or even visiting father.
Not only did the children’s need for their father continue, it also tended to rise with new intensity at adolescence, especially when it was time for the children to leave home.
Source: Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, Second Chances: Men, Women, and Children a Decade After Divorce (New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1989)
10. The preponderance of research supports the presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of children.
Source: Children’s Rights Council Report (CRC) R-103A. 1987 Synopses of Sole and Joint Custody Studies.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DOMESTIC ABUSE & CHILD ABUSE
1. 47. 55.5% of murder victims of domestic violence are male
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, “Murder in Families” July 1994
2. “One woman is battered every 15 seconds” is based on research by Strass and Gelles which indicate assaults by husbands or boyfriends on 1.8 million women every year. What is not generally mentioned is that the study further concluded “One man is battered every 14 seconds”
Source: Research by Murray Strauss and Richard Gelles as reported in “Women Are Responsible Too”, Judith Shervin, Ph.D. and Jim Sniechowski, Ph.D., Los Angeles Times. June 21,1994.
3. “54% of all violence termed ‘severe’ was perpetrated by women.”
Source: Research by Murray Strauss and Richard Gelles as reported in “Women Are Responsible Too”, Judith Shervin, Ph.D. and Jim Sniechowski, Ph.D., Los Angeles Times. June 21, 1994.
4. “Since society does not define abuse of men by women as a problem, official police data reflects a much more frequent response to abuse of women by men than of men by women. Therefore it is not surprising to find over 90% of the calls to police or to hotlines coming from women, not men.”
Source: “Spouse Abuse: A Two-Way Street”, Warren Farrell, Ph.D., USAToday, June 29, 1994.
5. Data from the states’ protective service agencies indicate that children have much more to fear from their mothers than from their fathers, with mothers abusing their children at a rate approaching or exceeding twice that of fathers. In New Jersey, for instance 70% of the confirmed parental child abuse is committed by mothers, not fathers, 66% in Alaska, 67% in Virginia, 68& in Texas, and 62% in Minnesota.
Source: A study of child abuse in Lansing, MI. Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay in Child Abuse and Neglect, Volume 8, 1984.
6. Preschoolers living without their biological father were 40 times more likely to be a victim of child abuse as compared to like-aged children living with their father.
Source: Wilson and Daley in Child Abuse and neglect: Biosocial Dimensions, 1987)
7. Premarital pregnancy, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and absent fathers are the most common predictors of child abuse.
Source: Smith, Hanson, and Noble, Child Abuse: Commission and Ommission, 1980.
8. 69% of victims of child sexual abuse came from homes where the biological father was absent.
Source: Gomes-Schwartz, Horowitz, and Cardarelli, Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Treatment, 1988.
9. Children are at particular risk. A 125 lb. woman is just as dangerous to a small child as is a 150 lb. man and the failure to admit that women can be violent has resulted in an increasingly tragic epidemic of child abuse.
Source: A study of child abuse in Lansing, MI. Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay in “Child Abuse and Neglect”, Volume 8, 1984.
10. Society’s failure to address abuse by women has some rather tragic results:
The cycle of family violence will not end until we are willing to treat not only men who initiate violent acts, but the women also. No adequate treatment programs for abusive women exist.
The man, generally being larger than the woman, is more likely to inflict physical injury when he responds to abuse from the woman, but the woman is more likely to overcome the size advantage by using a weapon.
Source: National Crime Survey, Census Bureau in “Spouse Abuse: A Two-Way Street”, Warren Farrell, Ph.D., USA Today. June 29, 1994/
TEENAGE SEXUALITY AND SOLE CUSTODY/FATHER ABSENCE
1. Daughters of single parents are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth, and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages
Source: Irwin Garfinkel and Sara McLanahan, “Single Mothers and Their Children” (Washington D.C.: Urban Institute Press, 1986).
2. Teenage girls who grow up without their fathers tend to have sex earlier. A 15-year-old who has lived with her mother only, for example, is three times as likely to lose her virginity before her sixteenth birthday as one who lived with both parents.
Source: Lee Smith, “The New Wave of Illegitimacy”, Fortune 18 (April 1994), pp. 81-94. Also see Susan Newcomer and J. Richard Udry, “Parental Marital Status Effects on Adolescent Sexual Behavior”, Journal of Marriage and the Family (May 1987), pp.235-240.
3. Adolescent females between the ages of 15 and 19 years reared in homes without fathers are significantly more likely to engage in premarital sex than adolescent females reared in homes with both a mother and a father.
Source: John O. G. Billy, Karin L. Brewster, and William R. Grady,”Contextual Effects on the Sexual Behavior of Adolescent Women”, Journal of Marriage and Family 56 (1994), pp. 381-404.
4. Girls from fatherless homes are 111% (over two times) more likely to have an unwed pregnancy.
Source: Warren Farrell presentation at NCMC conference, 1992; Hetherington, 1972
5. Girls from fatherless homes are 92% (nearly two times) more likely to divorce.
Source: Warren Farrell presentation at NCMC conference, 1992;Hetherington, 1972.
LOW ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND SOLE CUSTODY
1. “In Summary, 30% of the children in the present study experienced a marked decrease in their academic performance following parental separation, and this was evident three years later. Access to both parents seemed to be the most protective factor, in that it was associated with better academic adjustment… Moreover, data revealed that non-custodial parents (mostly fathers) were very influential in their children’s development….These data also support the interpretation that the more time a child spends with the non-custodial parent, the better the overall adjustment of the child.
Source: Factors Associated with Academic Achievement in Children Following Separation, L. Bisnaire, P.h.D.; P. Firestone, P.h.D.; D. Rynard, MA Sc American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(1), January, 1990.
2. Children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and receive lower grades in school. Children in single-parent families are nearly twice as likely to drop out of high school as children from two parent families.
Source: J.B. Stedman, L.H. Salganik, and C.A. Celebuski, “Dropping Out: The Educational Vulnerability of At-Risk Youth,” Congressional Research Service Report No. 88-417 EPW Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congress, Library of Congress, 1988).
3. Students without fathers or with stepfathers were less likely to have peers who thought it important to behave well in school.
Source: Nicholas Zill and Christine Winquist Nord, “Running in Place: How American Families are Faring in a Changing Economy and An Individualistic Society” (Washington, D.C.: Child Trends, Inc., 1994).
4. Children who exhibited violent misbehavior in school were 11 times as likely not to live with their fathers.
Source: Jonathan L. Sheline, Betty J. Skipper, and W. Eugene Broadhead, “Risk Factors for Violent Behavior in Elementary School Boys: Have You Hugged Your Child Today?” American Journal of Public Health 84 (1994), pp. 661-663.
5. Nationally, 15.3% of children living with a never married mother and 10.7% of children living with a divorced mother have been expelled or suspended from school ,compared with only 4.4% of children living with both biological parents.
Source: Debra Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Well-Being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey,” Journal of Marriage and Family 53 (1991). 67. Children who were living with both biological parents were nearly two to four times less likely than other children to have been expelled or suspended from school (4%vs. 9-15%)
Source: L. Remez, “Children Who Don’t Live with Both Parents Face Behavioral Problems,” Family Planning Perspectives (January/February 1992).
1. According to Census Bureau data, fathers with joint physical custody of their children, pay more of their child support – 90% – compared with 79% for fathers with visitation rights, and 44% for fathers with neither arrangement.
Source: Nicholas Zill, Analysis of Census Bureau Data, paper presented at the Children’s Rights Council National Conference, Bethesda, MD, April 1993.
2. 90% of fathers with joint custody pay all of their child support on time and in full.
Source: Current Population Report, issued September 1991; Child Support & Alimony: 1989 Series P60, No 173, pages 6 & 7 of the 1989 Census.
3. Where there is visitation, almost 80% of fathers pay all their support on time, and in full.
Source: 1991 Census Bureau; see also Current Population Report, issued September 1991; Child Support & Alimony: 1989 Series P60, No 173, pages 6 & 7 of the 1989 Census.
4. 51% of fathers paying no child support had annual incomes of less than $12,310.
Source: 1995 report to the Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on Families and Children.
5. 56% of fathers who owe support “cannot afford to pay the amount ordered”.
Source: 1992: The General Accounting Office.
6. 14% of fathers who owe child support are dead.
Source: 1992: The General Accounting Office.
7. A significant portion of unpaid child support is owed by fathers who are imprisoned.
Source: Steward A. Miller, senior legislative analyst for American Fathers Coalition in Washington D.C.
8. Almost 80% of custodial mothers receive a child support award.
Source: 1991 Federal Office of Income Security Policy.
9. Less than 30% of custodial fathers receive a child support award
Source: 1991 Federal Office of Income Security Policy
10. About 47% of those mothers ordered to pay child support totally default on their obligation.
Source: Steward A. Miller, senior legislative analyst for American Fathers Coalition in Washington D.C.
compiled 8/1/96 by co-founders of For Kids’ Sake
For Kids’ Sake
Patrick & Lynn Kempen
compiled 8/1/96 by co-founders of For Kids’ Sake