It's a sad truth, but there are roughly 24 million children in the U.S. who do not live with their biological fathers. In many of these cases, there may not even be any contact. For these children, to grow up without their father not only takes away from the important bonding experience kids have with their parents, but in many cases it also means one less positive male adult role model in the child's life.
When a couple has a baby and gets married, most people just assume the husband is also the father of the child. In some cases, finding out about the pregnancy is even a driving force between why two people get married. This same paternity assumption also goes on if the couple separates or divorces and can play a role in determining things like child support and child custody.
It's important for divorced fathers to maintain a lasting relationship with their children. For not only is this something that means a lot to dads, a recent study also determined that children who spend more one-on-one time with their fathers have better self-esteem.
Being a divorced father who is co-parenting with an ex-wife can certainly be difficult -- especially if the father and mother don't get along. This being said, parenting is something that doesn't end at a certain age. A father's role is not over in his son or daughter's life once he or she reaches the age of 18. This means co-parenting also continues on, which is why it's important for both parents to be able to work together from the very start to be able to keep a strong bond with their children.
With more and more children being born to unmarried parents there has been an increase in the demand for paternity tests. In fact, this demand has been so high that in one city there is even a mobile clinic that offers DNA paternity testing on the spot. With a prescription from a doctor and roughly $299 -- depending on the service -- a person can stop up at the 28-foot recreational vehicle and submit a sample. About three to five days later the results are in.
Fathers play an important role in a child's life. Fatherhood is more than just being a caregiver to make sure that a child has the necessities in life, along with love and support, but is also about being a positive adult male role model. Sadly, sometimes during a bitter divorce or break up, not all mothers are always as cognizant of the importance of a father playing a role in a child's life -- or they have their own agendas -- which means many fathers find themselves in court fighting for custodial rights.
Many fathers are eager to step up to the plate when it comes to parenting. They are the dads who are there to watch the Little League game and the ones to take their daughter to the park. And while their parenting may be different than a mother's, it is no less important when it comes to the healthy development of a child.
A state's Supreme Court recently ruled a Missouri father does not have any custody rights when it comes to his 10-year-old daughter. It was determined that he should not have child custody rights because he simply waited too long after taking a paternity test to try and get custody of her.