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There are legions of men for whom this is a really painful thing."Why don't the men who are unhappy with the arrangements they have fight for more time?(Currently about 7 percent of sole custodial parents are men.) Holstein says the legal system deters them.As it is, 27.7 percent of custodial mothers live below the poverty line, compared to only 11.1 percent of custodial fathers. More than billion in child-support payments was due to custodial parents last year. Still, that's better than it was for women in the '60s.Before the 1984 federal Child Support Enforcement Amendments, there was virtually no enforcement of support awards or comprehensive tracking of unpaid support.What I remember is pacing through our apartment the night before, watching my girls sleep.The older one was 8 and still slept as she had when she was a newborn, arms thrown high above her head.

It was a commitment not unlike marriage, and, given that feelings were still raw post-divorce, neither of us thought it would be easy. It can involve long commutes and budgets strained by the costs of maintaining two households.Crowley says the problem with linking support payments and time spent with kids is that in some cases it can create a "less than pure incentive for fathers to ask for more time with their children." Gary Nickelson of the AAML says men have come into his office saying they want custody of their kids half the time so that they can pay half the support. "If that's why you're in it, you're not going to win." Most men, though, he says, "just want a fair shake.They want to be involved with their kids."Fathers and Families is just one of many organizations for fathers who believe that they're not getting a fair shake. Ned Holstein, a public health physician who heads the 4,500-member group, says it represents men who want more time for the right reasons.In 1976, only 18 percent of these dads saw their children (ages 6-12) at least once a week. "It's likely that more fathers are seeing their children midweek for dinner or an overnight. "There's been a cultural shift—a father's involvement with their children is seen as important and positive," says Emery who is also the author of "The Truth About Children and Divorce" ().It's a change that really started in the 1990s," says Robert Emery, one of the coauthors of the 2009 Family Relations study (along with Paul R. The laws governing child support have also evolved and affected child-custody arrangements.

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