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Demonstrating the importance of paternity for single fathers

Many Missouri residents may have heard about the increasing number of single mothers in the United States. Such a scenario is considerably common, because mothers are often awarded custody of their children. However, as the number of single mothers increases, more fathers are facing scrutiny regarding their parental rights and the responsibilities to children.

On the other hand, a recent study has concluded that there has been an increase of single fathers throughout the country, as well, including in St. Charles, Missouri. The Pew Research Center stated that the number of children living with single fathers reached has reached eight percent of the population. From 1960 to 2011, the number of single fathers increased from 300,000 to over 2.6 million.

The study stated that more single fathers are younger and less educated. However, single fathers are often more financially stable than single mothers. Additionally, data showed that 52 percent of those fathers are widowed, separated, divorced or unmarried.

Very possibly, people assume that the father is the provider of the family while the mother takes care of the household and the children. However, the rising trend of single fathers may show that the father is just as capable of taking care of a child as a mother. The study may also demonstrate how the legal system is evolving in accordance with today's family dynamics.

Recently, the law has allowed more unmarried fathers to gain custody of their children. In Missouri, unmarried fathers may seek custody of their children through the paternity process. Child custody is just one of the issues that can be addressed by establishing paternity, together with visitation rights and financial support.

Paternity determines the legal relationship of a father to his child. A father's paternity can be established through DNA testing or voluntary acknowledgement of the mother and father. Once paternity has been established, an unmarried father will gain access to a father's rights. Through the paternity process, unmarried fathers may acquire custody and visitation rights with the child.

Source: Call & Post, "Single fathers on the rise, says study," Kush Azrael, Sept. 4, 2013

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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