Issues With Fathers – Where Do You Turn?
A father is often the main caregiver of a young child. Aside from the parental bonds of the father to his own children, the father will have a close, familial, social, and legal relationship with the young child which carries over certain legal obligations and rights. The father plays an important role in the life of his child through his love, guidance, and discipline. The father plays an even more important role during the childhood years when the child is a toddler or pre-school age child, by providing for the child’s physical, mental, moral, and educational needs.
The word “paternal” refers to biological fathers who contribute to the lives of their children. Legal fatherhood is determined by a legal document known as the paternity of the child or children. Paternity must be established before a father has a legal relationship or responsibilities towards his children. Paternity must be proven by a man (i.e., the father) who is legally responsible for the child or children.
Not all biological father figures are given credit or have rights to their contribution to their child or children. For example, a father who was married to a woman during his marriage without the consent and acceptance of his wife is not recognized as the father of his children. Similarly, men who adopted a child do not become the father of that child because of adoption. Adoption laws are in place to help ensure that children are provided for after their natural parents have died. However, these laws do not give fathers any rights to their children.
Some fathers have a difficult time relating to their children. They can have difficulties with visitation rights or custody. When this happens, the father may seek legal remedies to help with the problem. The father may ask the court for the right to send his child to live with him; he may petition the court to determine what role he should have in the raising of his child; or he may file for paternity. He may also ask the court to allow him access to his child (with his consent, of course) so he can be there for his child/children.
There are many ways for fathers to deal with situations in which they feel they are no longer fathers. Sometimes the best course of action is to take time away from their offspring to allow them to mature and gain independence. Fathers who remain in contact with their offspring through marriage or cohabitation may unintentionally prevent their daughters from attaining their legal and parental rights as females. This can be an example of paternity issues arising through a wrongful death claim by the daughter against the father. If the father wants to avoid this situation and wishes to retain his parental rights of his daughter, it would be in his best interest to seek a modification to his visitation and custody agreement. In the event of the death of the father, his wife may file a paternity claim against the father in order to claim his inheritance.
A male friend, relative, father figure or acquaintance can be a great source of support when a father has issues with his paternity. Many men feel uncomfortable asking their male friends or family members about their paternity because they are afraid of what they will think or because they want to be anonymous. However, some men feel more comfortable discussing their fatherhood with their male friends, family members or acquaintances because they can be honest about being involved with their daughter’s life. Some men will even go as far as to volunteer at a local hospital, help raise money for a girls’ school, or assist with after-school tutoring. If you are experiencing any issues with your paternity or you are just looking for ways you can get involved with your daughter and her needs, consider talking with a local male friend, father figure or acquaintance who has been in the same situation as you are.