A new breed of freelancer may be joining the independent work force: single fathers. More and more dads are receiving primary or joint custody of their children, which means they’ll need to have the sort of flexible schedule that freelancing and telecommuting allow.
Although mothers are statistically more likely to receive primary custody than fathers (79.6% of the time vs. 29.6% of the time), research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison published at the end of last year suggests that there’s a dramatic shift away from mother-only custody in favor of joint custody. The trend was first recorded in 1998, when preliminary research showed that mother-only custody agreements had dropped between 1986 and 1994 by four percent. An analysis of new data shows that joint custody has only gained momentum in the 20-odd years since — only 42% of the some 10,000 Wisconsin divorce cases reviewed were mother-only custody, while joint-custody cases were at 4%.
“Overall, the trend away from mother-only custody and toward shared custody is dramatic, representing a substantial change in the living situations of children of divorce over a relatively short period,” said lead author Maria Cancian.
What’s more, advocates in Massachusetts are pushing for a new piece of legislation that would require family court judges to consider joint custody in most divorce cases, unless a parent is deemed unfit.
However, men need to be able to rise to the rigors and challenges of single parenthood. Even though they may not be a full-time parent, they still need to be able to drop the kids off at school and pick them up, take them to doctors’ appointments, and more.
In order to meet these demands, it makes good sense that they’d enter the freelancing economy, which affords the flexible schedules and/or the telecommuting options single-parenthood needs. Freelancing can also help single-dads — and stay-at-home fathers who can’t work full time — pick up extra money, and stay current in their respective industry.
For some, freelancing may be their only option when trying to make ends meet. CNN recently reported that raising a child born in 2013 to the age of 18 will cost a middle-income couple just over $245,000. With expenses that high, any little bit could help, no matter where it comes from.