Over the past few decades, gender roles have experienced a rapid shift. In some households, women go out to work in corporate while men take care of the home. Some households with children have no women at all. These and other factors have resulted in men pushing to spend more time with their children. This challenges the existing norm of women primarily retaining sole or primary custody of children.

In 2016, North Carolina fathers formed a group that advocated for changes to the child custody laws in place at the time. These men wanted the opportunity to play stronger roles in their children’s lives.

Things are changing

Over the past few years, child custody rulings have begun to reflect the changes in co-parenting styles and gender norms. One professional who contributed to the article claimed that he had seen fathers gain better opportunities for joint custody over the course of his career.

He also shared that men are more likely to receive joint custody when they come to amicable arrangements with their exes. When there is a dispute that NC courts have to settle, many prefer to let the women act as primary caregivers.

Fathers do have more resources

With more fathers challenging the system and seeking more rights, many organizations have stepped up to help. One of the most well-known is Fathers Forever, which helps to keep fathers in children’s lives.

CBS17 reports that the organization serves fathers whose parenting roles are negatively impacted by substance abuse, incarceration and divorce. It even provides financial coaching during incarceration and transitional housing upon release.

It might be a long time before men can expect real, equal rights when it comes to parenting and child custody. One reason for this is that while gender norms are changing, they have not completely changed.

Men do spend far more time with their kids today than they did decades ago, but more often than not, women are still the primary caregiver in two-parent households. This tends to hold true even when both parents work. Further changes to these social realities on a wider scale might prompt more significant changes to custodial cases.