Divorce, other than nullifying the marital union, is a process that obligates both parents to have certain responsibilities. One of the responsibilities is for both the divorced parents to maintain their relationship with their child and to provide for the best interests of the child. If a couple has been married and is now divorced, paternity is already established, although paternity is often difficult and complex between unmarried couples.
In divorce, the court settles the custody, support and visitation orders, which gives the father an opportunity to preserve his relationship with the child. With unmarried couples; however, it is not possible for the law to intervene unless paternity has been established. A father, just like a mother, has an important role in a child’s life. It is very helpful if the father has a hand in parenting along with the mother. For instance, if the mother is in a new relationship or a job that forces her to divide her time, the father may be able to fill the gap.
There is also the question about the single-parent household income. Once the father acknowledges his biological relationship to the child, the father will most likely be obligated to provide child support, which can help alleviate some of the financial stress that the mother and the child experience. One approach to settle the parental rights issue is through mediation. Shared parenting can help a child thrive with the help of parents who work together for the child’s benefit.
Being able to exercise parental rights can be challenging. Aside from the paperwork, there are other legal concerns that need to be addressed. Although it may seem challenging at first, once the father’s rights have been established, to be acknowledged as a father will be rewarding and fulfilling.
Source: The Washington Informer, “Putting the Spotlight on Family Law Legal Needs,” Joy Moses, Sep. 17, 2013