only 14% of men would like to prioritise child care over paid work
The Daily Telegraph (11 August 2012) reported on Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures which suggest that both fathers and mothers would like to work fewer hours. Even so, 42% of women want to work less to enable them to devote more time to their kids, only 14% of men would like to prioritise child care over paid work. Rather, men (about one-third of those surveyed) would like to work less so that they can spend more time on socialising or recreation. Another 25% of men would like to work less so that they can spend time with their families, but not in order to carry out childcare duties.
The statistics are, however, at odds with what male family law clients telling their lawyers about their wishes. Maybe it is the case that while fathers are in stable relationships with their children’s mothers, they do not choose or see the need to prioritise parenting activities. When those same fathers’ relationships break down, they often tell their family lawyer that the relationship with their children is of primary importance to them, they wish to hang out with their children and can reduce or rearrange their work hours to enable them to do so.
It is definitely likely that in some cases the man’s desire to spend more time with his children post-separation is motivated by his wish to increase the nights that the children spend with him per year, so as to reduce his child support obligation. It is sad, but true in my experience, that both fathers and mothers can be motivated by child support considerations when negotiating parenting arrangements for their children.
There is another possible reason which can cast men’s motives in a more positive light, namely that when faced with relationship breakdown men come to realise the importance of their relationship with their children and then choose to give it a greater priority. If that is the case, perhaps it would be nice for the children and both their parents for those fathers to prioritise spending time with and caring for their children, above socialising or recreation, before their relationships break down.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.