The Divorcerer Speaks: SAHD
Do you recognize this acronym or initialism? If so, you know that we are talking about the “Stay At Home Dad(s).” Whether due to modern parenting trends, downturns in the economy, the other parent being the bread-winner or the countless other reasons that a parent stays at home with the children, the bottom line is that the numbers are increasing for SAHD at a rapid, unprecedented pace.
For example, in the 1970’s only six (6) U.S. men identified themselves as a stay-at-home parent according to the US Census Bureau. In contrast, the 2014 US Census Bureau data collected and analyzed by Huffington Post showed one point nine million (1,900,000) men identified themselves as a stay-at-home parent.
Not surprisingly, there are support systems, blogs, twitter accounts and networks dedicated to the SAHD, which not too long ago only seemed available and geared to Moms. You can check out HomeDadCon and the National At-Home Dad Network to see exactly what I am talking about.
This shows how parenting roles are converging into one, mutually-oriented goal, where the line between a Father’s roles and Mother’s roles are not so distinct, or traditional gender-based roles, for that matter. The increase in same-sex marriages has also helped lessen the gender roles previously set, allowing the family dynamics to change and a work-life balance by both parents being at the forefront of family decisions and care-taking.
Therefore, in the time of divorce, the primary caregiver of the children is just that – the primary caregiver – it is not automatically assumed a Mother or a Father are in that role. The new changes in Illinois law, in 2016, take this into account and should be discussed with your counsel if you are contemplating divorce to determine the best allocation of parenting time and responsibilities.
Jennifer R. Ward has exclusively practiced in the matrimonial and family law field for nearly 20 years. Furthermore, Ms. Ward is Adjunct Faculty at the John Marshall Law School teaching family law legal drafting to law students and has done so since 2005.