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Fathers need to be heard in courts

It's important that fathers feel respected when it comes to child custody agreements and parental responsibilities. It's very often that you hear that a mother is being congratulated when she's pregnant. Mothers are often talked about as if they are the only ones who take care of their children. A mother might even be assumed to be the custodial parent when she very well may not be after a divorce.

Fathers do matter. They need to be heard in court and be respected when they have an opinion about what should happen to their children. Becoming a father is a joy for many, but still others have to fight for their paternal rights. In cases where men were not married before their children were born, they may have to request a DNA test or seek out other avenues to prove their paternity.

In a divorce, those same fathers may have to prove that they are the better choice for the child's placement. It shouldn't be presumed that a woman will be the primary custodian or have sole custody. A woman's role is important to her children, but a father's role is equally vital in their lives.

As a father, it's normal to be concerned that your divorce may end up leaving you with only visitation rights or that a woman will keep your children from you by refusing to put your name on a birth certificate. You have legal options in these cases, and you have the right to be heard. You deserve a chance to be with your children; you are biologically related and should be respected.

Source: The West Side Gazette, "Fathers we support you!!!," Dr. Hyacynthia M. Leonce, accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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