With the increased divorce rate in conjunction with changing roles within families, fathers feel they often get the short end of the deal in divorce settlements. To combat this, the Fathers’ Rights Movement has been born. This movement has been classified as a type of civil rights movement. The people involved in the debate are primarily interested in issues affecting fathers and their children. The emphasis is on areas of family law including child support and child custody.
In other cases, the Fathers’ Rights Movement has been seen as a social movement. People who are actively involved in the movement disagree based on the argument that their rights are not a question of social science but rather constitutional government. The movement has been known to receive international attention due, in part, to the high profile style of activism used by Fathers 4 Justice.
The Fathers’ Rights Movement is made of a group of people who are diverse in their goals, methods, and political views. The movement is focused on a narrow set of issues of interest to their members. This movement is not simply a men's movement as women are involved as well. These women are frequently the second wives of divorced family members or other family members of the men who have been engaged in a family law proceeding.
With the changes in the 1960s and 1970s to the family law structure, in particular creating the No Fault divorce, came an examination of the legal rights and responsibilities of parents. During the 1970s, Families Need Fathers emerged to give voice to the issues the members of the Fathers’ Rights Movement feel need addressing.
Over the years, the Fathers’ Rights Movement has become increasingly vocal, visible, and organized. They have, increasingly, played a central role in debates over family law and the changes proposed to it.
Many social commentators see the rise and increase in the movement as a form of “backlash" against the increase of power women hold in the family as well as in society. This is seen as a challenge to the traditional roles and authority of men in the same realms. In this light, the movement is a portion of a sort of gender war.
At the same time, numerous other commentators see the issue as much more complex. They see several interrelated trends causing the prominence of the entire movement. Shifting household demographics, such as the greater level of fragmentation of families via the decline in marriage and rising divorce/separation rates, are seen to have increased the fragility of men's relationship with their children.
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