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Evolution of dad and mom roles in family life and divorce

The old saying is that the only constant in this world is change. One of the ways we document change in American society is with research aimed at following social trends, such as the work done by Pew Research Center.

Earlier this month, the organization updated information describing the changing roles of fathers. Dads take a more active role in raising children today than fathers did a few decades ago. With the changes in family life and marriage come changes to the roles of fathers and mothers in divorce, too, of course.

One big change that has taken place is that fewer fathers are now sole breadwinners in their households. Only about one in four families in which a couple lives with their children (under age 18) have the dad as the sole wage-earner. Back in 1970, the figure was nearly twice as high.

Today, about two-thirds of families have dual-earners. Back in 1970, only about half of families had two breadwinners.

Another change in the American home: mom and dad roles are converging. Dad used to spend much of his time and energy on work outside the home. Mom used to spend much of her time on housework and taking care of the kids.

However, since 1965, fathers have more than doubled their time spent on household chores and child-raising duties, while women have increased the time and effort expended on earning incomes outside the home.

Pew Research also says that today, "Dads see parenting as central to their identity." Fifty-seven percent of fathers make that claim, which is nearly identical to the 58 percent of mothers who say it.

That change, along with the many others overhauling American marriage and family life, means that in divorce, many fathers today seek co-parenting roles. The good news for both moms and dads is that here in Texas, the state sees the two parents as equals.

A Dallas divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights and options in a child custody dispute, and help you protect the best interests of your child.

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