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Gender changes in the workforce impact family roles and custody

The gender assumptions and stereotypes that used to plague child custody cases are starting to disappear. More and more, for instance, both men and women get shared custody of the kids rather than seeing it heavily favor mothers.

There are a lot of reasons for this, including an understanding that men can also be excellent caretakers and the knowledge that children do best when they have a relationship with both parents. One other thing that factors in, though, is how often women now enter the workforce.

The custody time split in the past happened when men most often worked and women stayed home. From that perspective, the court thought it made sense to give custody to mothers while the fathers provided income, child support and alimony.

These days, most mothers (70.5%) also work. Beyond that, about 30% of wives who work make more money than their husbands who also work. The women are now the primary breadwinners in about one out of every three homes in the United States with two working parents.

Naturally, this has changed many of the financial obligations that people used to expect when they split up, and it has also changed how the court determines child custody rights. Again, it's more common than ever for both parents to be involved with the kids in a substantial way.

You need to understand this if you and your spouse are heading for divorce. You also need to know how the court is going to look at your custody agreement and what legal rights you have as a parent.

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