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Because mothers head most single-parent households,229 an argument may also be made
that the lack of a father in the household or a father figure in the child’s life could be the
underlying problem distinguishing the children in sole custody and the children in joint custody
arrangements.230 The father’s rights movement heavily advocates this position in their efforts to
have fathers more involved in child-rearing activities.
Many studies have also attempted to substantiate the allegation that the lack of paternal
influence in single-mother households causes the disparity, asserting that children without a
father are more likely to be incarcerated, drop out of school, and face poverty.231 Like the
studies discussing custodial arrangements, studies pointing to the lack of male influence as the
reason for these dilemmas also remain unclear. More specifically, some of the problems with this
Social Science data stems from the inability to truly determine whether fatherlessness is the
actual cause of the children’s difficulties or that fatherlessness merely correlates to children with
the described negative characteristics.232 It is particularly important to consider the lack of
specificity as to the children’s exposure to their fathers or any paternal influence, the quality of
the parent-child relationship that exists with the custodial and non-custodial parent, the child’s
stability, and whether the non-custodial parent contributes to the child’s expenses.233
229 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, supra note 208.
230 See generally Cory Maret Dickerson, The Lived Experience of Fatherlessness in Male Adolescents: The Student
Perspective (July 2014), , http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1960&context=doctoral.
231 See Luke Rosiak, Fathers Disappear from Households Across America, WASH. TIMES (December 25, 2012),
WILLIAM D. MOSHER & JO JONES, Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children: United States, 2006-2010, U.S. DEP’T
OF HEALTH AND HUM. SERVS., CDC, (December 20, 2013), http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf.
232 See Dickerson, supra note 223; see Hardcastle, supra note 107, at 207-11.