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Proposed national bill to help fathers with paternity issues

Regardless of marital status, parents are responsible for the overall well-being of their children. If both parents assume this responsibility, everyone wins. However, this is not the case in many families in the U.S., including in St. Charles, where a lot of children and parents-mostly unmarried-are suffering because of paternity issues.

Two of the nation's senators have joined forces to suggest legislation that would create a national Responsible Father Registry. Although this bill has similar counterparts in every state, the idea is a bit unconventional as the registry would not only have a statewide range but would exist on a national level. The proposal aims to protect the parental rights of unmarried fathers by letting them register as the father of a child, whether or not they are sure of the paternity.

The bill could be greatly beneficial to unmarried fathers as it may give them the chance to have a relationship with their estranged child or children whom they did not know existed previously. The registry would change that. For a long time, unmarried fathers had fewer parental rights than birth mothers or married fathers. In fact, there are incidents where unmarried fathers have their parental rights relinquished because the birth mothers have surrendered their children to adoption.

Unmarried fathers in St. Charles could avoid this situation if this bill is signed into law. That is because the registry will inform them if their paternal rights are about to be relinquished because of adoption. Dads then have the option to stave off the adoption and rekindle a relationship with their estranged child or children.

Unfortunately, this bill is not yet approved and signed. In the meantime it is a good idea for fathers in St. Charles who are seeking paternal rights to consult a legal professional. St. Charles' legal professionals are experienced at handling paternity issues and may guide these fathers throughout the legal proceedings in establishing their paternity; that often includes DNA testing.

Source: Desert News, "Lois M. Collins: 'Responsible Father Registry' could help children of unwed parents," Lois M. Collins, June 25, 2013

Joseph J. Porzenski
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