Are You The Father?

This guest post is from Regent Law 3L Angelina Moyo, current Child Advocacy Practicum student and mother of four – Angelina is set to graduate in this December and will sit for the California bar exam in February 2016.

     Every child has a father.  Whether or not that father is involved in the child’s life is often the result of a number of decisions that occur prior to or immediately following the birth of the child.  If you are a father who wishes to be in the life of your child it is important that you are aware of the laws and rules that might make your access to your child more or less difficult.
     Sociologists and psychologists have done study upon study about the impact of a missing father on the life of the child.  Statistically, children without a father in the home are more likely to be in poverty, to be engaged in drugs and alcohol, to drop out of school, to be less educated and to generally have a much more difficult time in life.  If the father cannot be in the home with the child, it is proven that the more access the child has to his or her father will greatly impact the child’s sense of self.  With a greater sense of self children do better in school and have a better outlook on life.
Most states have enacted statues providing criteria that must be met by a father to establish parenthood:

          If you are determined to be the father of the child you have the ability to petition the court for access to you child and the ability to make determinations about the health and wellbeing of your son or daughter.  In order for the court to award you custody or other such visitation the court must determine that access to you as a parent is in the best interests of the child.  Factors the court might use to determine the best interest of the child include:
  • Age of the child;
  • Relationship of the child's parents and any other persons who may significantly affect the child's welfare;
  • Preference of the child, if old enough to express a meaningful preference;
  • Duration and adequacy of the child's current living arrangements and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
  • Stability of any proposed living arrangements for the child;
  • Motivation of the parties involved and their capacities to give the child love, affection and guidance;
  • The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community;
  • Capacity of each parent to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent, including physical stress;
  • Capacity of each parent to cooperate in childcare;
  • Methods for assisting parental cooperation and resolving disputes and each parent's willingness to use these methods;
  • Effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over the child's upbringing; and 
  • History of Domestic Violence. 
  • All other factors having reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child.

     Gaining and maintaining a relationship with your child is essential to your child’s success in life and their general happiness. Do not allow broken relationships, ignorance about the system or your own issues to keep you from forming this special and vital bond with your child. If you are in need of legal help to gain access to your child state courts often have free and low cost legal resources that you can use to proceed through the court system maze.  Family restoration begins with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment