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Most fathers say they spend too little time with their children

Although Michigan law promotes child custody and parenting arrangements that allow the children to spend lots of time with both parents, many fathers still feel they don't get a fair break. There may be some justice in those feelings, based on a comparison between how moms and dads report feeling.

The Pew Research Center just released a survey of American moms and dads. One question they asked was whether each parent felt they got to spend too little, just enough or too much time with their kids. Interestingly, the majority of dads -- 63 percent -- felt they spent too little time with their children. One percent or less said they spent too much time with them.

By contrast, only 36 percent of moms said they were spending too little time with their children. The majority, or 53 percent, reported spending about the right amount of time, and 12 percent said they spent too much time with their kids.

That difference was magnified by education level. Among dads who rated their education level as "some college or less," 69 percent felt they didn't spend enough time with their children, compared to only 50 percent of fathers with college degrees or greater. Among mothers with some college or less, only 33 percent felt they spent too little time with their kids, while the percentage who said they spent too much time with their children rose to 14. Among mothers with bachelor's degrees or more, slightly more (39 percent) felt they weren't getting enough time with their kids.

For both mothers and fathers, the main reason they didn't spend as much time as they wanted with the children was work obligations. This was reported by 62 percent of fathers and 54 percent of mothers. Still, 20 percent of dads said the main reason was that they didn't live with their children full time.

That lines up to some degree with the percentage of fathers who say they don't live with their children overall. Fully 24 percent of U.S. dads say they live apart from some or all of their children. Even more dads lived apart from their kids if they had less education or if they were African-American or Hispanic.

There are interesting connections to be made in the information from the Pew survey. However, it's important to remember that statistics don't predict outcomes for individuals. Your own child custody and visitation arrangements should be what works best for your family and in the best interest of your children.

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