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New national registry would protect fathers’ rights

New national registry would protect fathers' rights

Today, half of mothers under age 30 are not married when they give birth to their first child, yet the laws regarding a father's rights to the child have not changed with the times. It can be a challenge for a father who desires to be involved in a child's life to legally secure his rights when he has not been married to the child's mother. Two United States senators hope to change that with the Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2013, a bill that they have recently introduced. This bill would create a national registry for fathers specifically for the purpose of assisting those who wish to be responsible fathers and establish their parental rights.

Although many states already have such registries, supporters of the legislation assert that a nationwide registry could be more effective in cases where the two biological parents live in different states or move across state lines. A registry would also allow the father to receive notification if the child were to be adopted or if parental rights were terminated by a court.

In many cases when the couple is unmarried, the father of a child is denied the option to take an active role in his child's life. The mother may make decisions about adoption or placement of the child without regard to the father's wishes and even without consulting or notifying him.

If you are the father of a child with whom you wish to establish a parental relationship, you may need legal assistance to protect your parental rights. Responsible fathers who want to establish paternity and take an active role in the raising of a child may choose to consult with an attorney who can help them navigate the complexities of the laws regarding custody and visitation, while protecting their parental rights.

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

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