February 14, 2015 08:11
A growing number of teens from divorced families are opting to live with their fathers, a trend that becomes more marked as the children get older.
The Seoul Family Court in a report Thursday tallied rulings from June to December of last year that reveal this trend.
In divorced families where kids were 0 to six years of age, 91.4 percent of custody rights went to mothers. But in families where children were seven to 12, fathers gained custody in 18.5 percent of the cases. And when children were over 13, fathers gained custody in 30.4 percent of divorce cases.
In the total 71 divorce cases the court handled in the second half of last year, daughters opted to live with their mothers in 84 percent of the cases and 77 percent of sons.
Experts said this trend reflects a change in the traditional view that women should raise children and shows that fathers are playing a bigger role at home.
In divorce battles, the question who caused the marriage to shatter is the main factor in decisions. But when it comes to child custody, the child's happiness is the primary consideration. Judges look at which parent is capable of caring for the child better and which side the child wishes to live with.
The report said a majority of preschoolers spend a lot of time with their mothers, and this plays a huge role in allocating custody. But the situation often changes when kids reach an age where they are capable of expressing their own views.
As the number of double-income families rises, more and more dads end up caring for their kids. One divorce attorney said, "A divorced couple I advised recently had a child who thought it was obvious for him to live with his dad, since his dad had cared for him, attending school events with him while his mother was busy working."
Other experts say teenagers are capable of making pragmatic choices. "Children don't suddenly become close to their dads as they grow older. They choose which parent can offer them stability," said another lawyer.
A court official said the aim of the report is to be used as a reference for judges.
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