Professional man taking his child to school or daycare.jpgFathers play a crucial role in raising children, and data from the U.S. Census backs that up. Census data showed that Georgia fathers are taking child custody following divorces and legitimation proceedings at an increasing rate. Families led by single fathers shot up 45 percent in the recent census. Those headed up by single mothers took a 35 percent hike in the last decade.

This trend is not unique to Georgia. Since 1990, the number of single dads has shot up from 1.5 million to 2.79 million. This figure does not include the number of gay men that are raising children and cannot officially marry, thus slightly skewing the figure. However, this is also an issue involved with calculating the number of families led by single mothers.

Professionals attribute this trend to the fact that society may be bucking traditional gender roles that state men focus on work and women base their daily lives around raising children. Men are finding themselves capable of becoming the primary caregiver to their children, and not designating that role for a woman.

At the same time, a number are women are discovering that they don't need- or in some cases, necessarily want - to be the sole provider for a child when a marriage disintegrates.

The increase also speaks to the fact that Georgia courts are becoming more open to giving child custody to a man. Experts say that there is little difference between single mothers and fathers as they face similar responsibilities and time constraints.

As the census data demonstrates, the important roles fathers play is becoming increasingly recognized by Georgia courts and society as a whole.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "More single dads in charge," Gracie Bonds Staples, 18 June 2011