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Melissa A. Featherston

Fathers' rights important issue in Missouri and beyond

The fight for fathers' rights can be hard for Missouri residents and fathers across the country, but it is certainly an important one to wage. It is important for both fathers and children that they establish a caring bond between them. Fathers deserve to have regular visitation with their children, even in cases where they never married their children's mother. Sometimes, this can make it especially important for individuals to pursue fathers' rights in court.

That was the case for one man from another state. He had been fighting for his parental rights in regard to his daughter since 2008. That was when his former girlfriend moved to Ohio with his daughter, along with the girlfriend's husband. State law at the time dictated that the biological father's parental rights were superseded by the woman's husband. At that point, the law declared the husband the daughter's father, rather than the actual biological father.

The man fighting for his rights recently won a big victory in family court when a judge acknowledged that the man should now be considered the biological father of his daughter. This victory was made possible by the fact that the Michigan governor overturned the 1956 law which declared that the mother's husband would be the father, even if another man had biologically fathered a child. The judge in the immediate case also granted the man immediate visitation rights via telephone and computer.

This case marks an important win for fathers' rights advocates, potentially even in states beyond Michigan where it occurred and our own state of Missouri. States often look to case law in other states when deciding how to set precedents in their own. Biological fathers in Missouri who feel that their parental rights have been violated may wish to pursue those rights in a family law court.

Source: Hartland Patch, "Hartland Father Wins Rights to Biological Daughter," Tatum Ryan, Feb. 27, 2013

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