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Unwed fathers must often fight for child custody

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of births in Texas and elsewhere in 2014 were to unwed mothers. That accounts for over a million children. When children are born to married couples, the state assumes that both parents equally share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child. However, when parents are not married, fathers typically must have their child custody rights established by court decisions, especially if the parents are no longer a couple.

More often, studies are showing that when both parents are consistently involved in a child's life, the child is more likely to perform better in school. Additionally, a father who is granted regular opportunities to build a relationship with his children is more likely to make steady child support payments. A father who sees a child on a consistent basis may begin to recognize any needs the child may have and be more willing to step up with financial -- as well as emotional -- support.

This is why some states are moving toward laws to provide more equitable sharing of custody for unwed fathers. Some states are even considering including parenting time in existing child support formulas. While some oppose this idea on the grounds that it may bring victims of domestic violence face to face with their abusers, others cite research showing the benefits of a strong bond between a child and both of his or her parents.

In Texas, unwed parents who are separated often struggle on their own with issues of child custody and support. Sometimes they are able to work it out together, but many times they may need professional guidance. Whether one is a father hoping to establish paternity and gain parenting time, or a single mother trying to get much needed support payments, a dedicated attorney will seek a client's best interests.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Involving Dads In Lives Of Children Born Out Of Wedlock", Sarah Breitenbach, Sept. 29, 2016

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