Issues Facing Fathers Today

A father is usually the biological father of a child under age 18 whose custody has been granted or agreed upon by the mother and father. In many jurisdictions, the father must be shown “due respect” for his rights as the father and the right of his child. These rights include support and child custody rights. A father plays an important role in raising his child; therefore, he should not be denied his rights by society or the courts just because he is not married or has limited legal rights. The child custody issues that fathers face and the procedures that they have to go through to get custody of their children are complex and unique.



A father has certain familial, legal, and parental ties to his children. These ties determine the amount of time and financial support that he is entitled to provide for his child (Ren). Along with biological fatherhood, fathers may also be involved in their child’s life through their joint custody or through a legal standing as a stepparent. If you are seeking custody of your child, a father who is involved in his child’s life will likely have more options available to him than others.

Child Support

Child support is determined by the jurisdiction in which the child resides at the time of the termination of the marriage or separation. Some jurisdictions provide child support that is paid on a weekly basis while others require payments to be made biweekly or annually. There are also jurisdictions that allow for fathers to be financially supported by the proceeds from their estate for a specified period of time after the death of the child or immediately before death, whichever is applicable. The father may also be ordered to reimburse the child for medical and dental care, education, housing, and various other services.

The father of an adopted child or a biological father of an abandoned child has certain biological rights to his offspring. For instance, if the child was left by his natural parents for reasons deemed inappropriate by the court, or if he was removed from his parents, he has the legal right to seek child support from the other parent or from the country or state in which he was born. In addition, a father can protect his offspring by securing his parental rights and holding over a child for adoption or same-sex adoption if that is what he desires. While most states now recognize a same-sex relationship as valid, not all states do so.

Legal Rights

Fathers also have legal rights regarding parental responsibility for their offspring. The father has the legal right to be involved in his child’s life through his parental rights, including child support and adoption. He also has the responsibility to make decisions for the welfare of his children even when those decisions may not be in his best interest. In the case of unwanted pregnancy, a father who are legally defined as the father has the right to be involved in the decision about the pregnancy, the intended parents’ rights to their children, and the ultimate disposition of the child. In the case of statutory rape, a father who is defined as the father has the responsibility to prevent his partner from engaging in sexual activity with a person they are not married to, or if they engage in sexual conduct with someone other than their spouse.

To complicate matters further, in some jurisdictions, the father who is listed on the birth certificate as the father of an adopted child is considered to be the biological father of that child and not necessarily the adoptive father. To complicate things still further, a child adopted from another country and subsequently brought to live in the United States may not receive adequate immunities based on the place of birth of the adopted child’s mother unless the adoptive father can provide documentary proof that he is the biological father of the child. Fatherhood issues remain complex and complicated for many men. It is important to consider your options and how these issues can affect you and your family now and in the future.

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