Father's rights movement

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The father's rights movement is a social movement whose members are primarily interested in issues related to family law, including child custody and child support, that affect fathers and their children. Many of its members are fathers who desire to share the parenting of their children equally with their children's mothers — either after divorce or marital separation. The movement includes men as well as women, often the second wives of divorced fathers or other family members of men who have had some engagement with family law.

The fathers' rights movement exists almost exclusively in industrialized countries, where divorce has become more common. It emerged in the West from the 1960s onwards as part of what is now called the manosphere with organizations such as Families Need Fathers, which originated in the 1970s. In the late twentieth century, the growth of the internet permitted wider discussion, publicity and activism about issues of interest to fathers' rights activists. Factors thought to contribute to the development of the fathers' rights movement include shifting household demographics brought about by rising divorce and falling marriage rates, changes in the understanding and expectations of fatherhood, motherhood and childhood as well as shifts in how legal systems impact families.

Fathers' rights groups in the West are primarily composed of white, middle or working class, heterosexual men. Members tend to be politically conservative but do not share a single set of political or social views and are highly diverse in their goals and methods. Members of the fathers' rights movement advocate for strong relationships with their children and focus on a narrowly defined set of issues based on the concerns of divorced or divorcing men. Women, often new partners including second wives or other family members of men who have had some engagement with family law and mothers without custody, are also members of the fathers' rights movement, and fathers' rights activists emphasize this. Two studies of fathers' rights groups in North America found that fifteen percent of their members were women.

The fathers' rights movement organizations Families Need Fathers and the Lone Fathers Association have campaigned for fathers' rights over many decades. Longer lasting organizations appear to result from the longterm dedication and commitment of key individuals. Other fathers' rights groups have tended to form and dissolve quickly. Internal disagreements over ideology and tactics are common, and members tend not to remain with the groups after they have been helped.

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