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Melissa A. Featherston

Fathers' rights often more challenging for single dads

Fathers' rights can vary from state to state. A recent article discussed some of the issues single fathers may want to consider when filing for custody or visitation. Missouri fathers looking to exercise their fathers' rights may find this information helpful.

Some fathers may assume if their name is on the child's birth certificate, they automatically have the right to spend time with their child. However, the court system does not necessarily see it that way. A father typically has to establish paternity in order to spend time with the child. This does not relieve them from paying ordered child support. If a father's name is on the birth certificate, they can be responsible for child support, even before they are allowed to spend time with the child.

If the child's mother files for any type of government assistance, she is legally obligated to disclose the father's name. At that point, the father may start to receive child support notices unexpectedly. If the mother needs food stamps or other types of assistance, she will have to show proof of all income -- including child support or the lack thereof. Any father that is included on a birth certificate may want to stay in contact with the mother, if possible, in order to avoid facing this situation.

Missouri fathers will likely benefit from gaining an understanding of laws concerning their specific situation. Any man looking to exercise his fathers' rights may gain by knowing his rights before any action is taken by either party involved. With the right knowledge, a father can take a proactive approach and hopefully avoid any controversy with the mother of the child.

Source: abcactionnews.com, Five important things that unwed fathers need to know, Yvette Harrell, Oct. 8, 2013

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