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Melissa A. Featherston

Fathers' rights battle come into the national spotlight

Missouri fathers who are facing divorce may be shocked to know that fathers' rights often leave much to be desired. Many men do not realize until they are in the midst of a custody battle that fathers are often disregarded by family courts. Traditionally, women and mothers have been favored in family law situations, but a movement promoting fathers' rights has gained national recognition.

Many cases over the rights of fathers have come into the national spotlight. The famous skier, Bode Miller, recently challenged his girlfriend's right to move while she was pregnant with their unborn child. Many of these types of cases are challenging the age-old perception that the mother should be the main caregiver of the children after a divorce. While many Americans do support joint custody, courts may not often grant this arrangement.

Besides custody, fathers are now contesting the fact that they are often stripped of their parental rights, yet have to pay child and spousal support. Many men have stepped forward to fight for equality in all parental and support arrangements after divorce. Courts are also now seeing an influx in fathers' rights cases in unwed couples, even in Missouri.

Fighting a family law battle is difficult, especially when it is considered "new territory," such as fathers' rights cases. In the same way that mothers do, fathers are fully entitled to pursue their desired outcome in the court system. Parental arrangements should be granted based on what is in the best interests of the child, not just what is traditionally accepted as the best method.

Source: slate.com, "Dad's Day In Court", Hanna Rosin, May 13, 2014

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