For married fathers, establishing paternity is not typically much of an issue, but things have not always been so simple for unmarried fathers. Their paternity is sometimes challenged or they are simply not given the same rights as married fathers, even if they claim to be related. They are often given titles like alleged, presumed or reputed fathers. In Arkansas, for instance, they are known as putative fathers.
Pulaski County dads who aren't married must take steps to ensure the state recognizes the legal bond between them and their children. Paternity must be established before fathers' rights can be exercised. Marital status can seem like an unfair measure of whether a man is a father, but there are ways to overcome legal obstacles.
Parental rights aren't automatic for unmarried fathers. In Arkansas, certain legal steps must be taken to obtain fathers' rights. Some are easier and less costly than others.
The legal obstacles unmarried, biological fathers have to overcome to obtain a satisfying relationship with children may not seem fair. A married man is presumed to be the father of any child born to his wife. Evidence isn't necessary to prove motherhood, whether or not a woman is married.
Child support is an emotionally charged topic in Arkansas for a number of reasons. For those who are ordered to pay support, they may feel as if they are subject to an unfair form of spousal maintenance. For those who receive support, they may believe that they do not receive enough to adequately care for the child or maintain a stable household.
Actress Kate Winslet is known for her famous roles, but a father’s rights group in the United Kingdom has used her as an example of how many fathers are treated as second class citizens when it comes to parenting time during the holidays. Winslet was recently quoted in a magazine as saying that she does not share parenting time, which the group, Fathers4Justice took to say that she doesn’t care about non-custodial fathers not being with their children on Christmas morning.