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Single fathers get Oscar nods this year

This year, the film industry seems to have turned a corner and heightened the visibility of single fathers featured as characters in major motion pictures. Perhaps the changing media images will help courts better understand the point of view of men in Michigan who are battling for fathers' rights.

Up until recently, it was much more common for films to depict the plight of single mothers. This past year, however, has seen the showings of "Moneyball," "We Bought a Zoo" and "The Descendants" which all have a single father as the central character. While none of them are portrayed as perfect fathers, each of the characters is genuinely and deeply involved in the lives of his children, and determined to make a go of being a single parent.

It is encouraging that each film has been nominated to receive an Oscar award this weekend. The nominations are drawing attention to the role of a single father who must balance career and parenting requirements.

By focusing on the role of single father, Hollywood may be spotlighting the issues that many men face every single day. Working around child custody, visitation, changes in circumstances and parental relocations, men across the country may find themselves in a fight for their right to parent or co-parent.

Fathers traditionally have experienced great difficulty in winning and keeping custody of their children. At an earlier point in time, it was quite common for courts to simply assume that mothers were better equipped to handle child custody and child rearing. This is no longer the case for many parents.

Additionally, a father who is unmarried or divorced may face acts of vengeance from the mother of their child. In these situations, a man will likely have to fight back in order to maintain a relationship with his child. Working with an attorney, a man can take action against a mother who has jeopardized his right to a positive and strong parent-child relationship.

Source: SecondAct, "Hollywood's Nod to Single Dads," Jane Ganahl, Feb. 17, 2012

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