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Melissa A. Featherston

Fight for fathers' rights becoming more complicated

Fathers' rights have always been a complicated issue, especially for children who are born to unmarried parents. Recently, another state has banned unmarried fathers from the delivery room, bringing into focus fathers' rights across the country. Missouri fathers may be wondering how to fight for their rights as fathers, especially in complicated custody cases.

It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of children born are to unwed parents. This means that fathers may have difficulty getting basic parental rights, including seeing their children after birth, parenting time, notification of delivery and more. As laws restricting the rights of fathers pass in other states, it could indicate that Missouri fathers may have to take concerted legal steps to fight for certain rights.

Opponents of these laws have stated that even if parents are unwed, fathers should still have certain inherent rights, such as parenting time. In certain legal cases in other parts of the country, it has been ruled that mothers have the right to refuse the father the right to sign his child's birth certificate. This could cause issues later down the road if the need arises when the father wants to prove paternity, especially if Missouri sees similar laws pass.

It can be complicated to fight for fathers' rights, especially if the parents are not married at the time of the birth. However, there are still ways to legally fight for custody and other desired outcomes. If a father finds that he needs to take legal steps to fight for his rights, it is best to begin by further understanding parental laws in Missouri.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Another Blow to Fathers' Rights; Dad Barred From Delivery Room", Joseph E. Cordell, March 25, 2014

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