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Father’s Rights Movement

 The father’s rights movement got started to protest laws which discriminate against men in alimony, child support settlements and the presumption of custody.

The fathers' rights movement is fairly new development that sprang from fathers who were primarily interested in issues related to family law, including child custody and child support laws that affect fathers and their children. Many members are fathers who desire to share the parenting of their children equally with their children's mother, either after divorce or as unwed fathers. The movement also includes a significant number of women who are the second wives of divorced fathers. In the beginning, many fathers in the movement were not interested in the law or politics, but as so many felt that their goals of equally shared parenting were being hindered by family courts, they eventually became full invested in examining family law. As a result, the father’s rights movement has received international press coverage from the activism of its members and has become increasingly vocal, visible and organized around the world today.

The fathers' rights movement is now a force that exists in many industrialized nations, especially those where divorce is common. It emerged in the U.S. in the 1960s as part of the general men's movement with organizations such as Families Need Fathers in the 1970s. With the advent of the Internet, there has been wider discussion, publicity and general activism surrounding the issues of interest to fathers' rights activists. Those issues include shifting household demographics due to 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.

In the 1960’s the fathers’ rights movement in the US got started with the creation of Divorce Racket Busters group in California to protest the state’s divorce laws which they felt discriminated against men in alimony, child support settlements and the presumption of maternal custody. The original group changed its name to Divorce Reform in 1961, and with the increase in divorce rates in the 1970s, more men’s organizations sprang up devoted to divorce reform and by the 1980s there were more than 200 fathers’ rights groups active in the U.S. Those groups targeted sex discrimination in family law by lobbying state legislatures, filing class action suits, picketing courthouses, and monitoring judges’ decisions through court watch systems. In the 1990’s, the larger National Fatherhood Initiative and the American Fathers Coalition were founded in attempts to nationalize the movement. However, attempts to found a national organization to which all local fathers’ rights organizations could belong has not been realized and the movement still remains mainly a loose coalition of local groups.

Other countries where the fathers' rights movement is active today include:

•    Australia
•    Belgium
•    Canada
•    Finland
•    France
•    Germany
•    Greece
•    Hungary
•    India
•    Ireland
•    Israel
•    Italy
•    Japan
•    Spain
•    New Zealand
•    Norway
•    Poland
•    Sweden
•    United Kingdom

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