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Common perception of single fathers appears to be incorrect

There is often the perception that single fathers are irresponsible and do not live up to their obligations to take care of their children.  One commentator who in the past had made such assumptions discovered that she had been wrong.

This woman and another researcher interviewed 100 low-income non-custodial fathers from Pennsylvania.  Instead of finding that the fathers failed to care about their obligations, she instead found that they often badly wanted to be good fathers and were often very involved in the early lives of their children.

Though neither mother nor father generally make explicit plans for a pregnancy to happen, often both parties fail to take the proper steps to prevent a pregnancy from occurring.  But while men may say they "just weren't thinking" that a pregnancy could occur, most fathers experience a feeling of happiness when they discover that a pregnancy has taken place.  And this satisfaction often exists even under challenging circumstances.

It's possible that many of these relationships with the mother break-up due to financial strain.  And couples may also put off marriage because they don't want to rush into a marriage.  Yet without the money to support a family, mothers may not view the biological father's presence in their child's life in a favorable way.  

We need to understand that not having the father involved in the child's life can bring along its own set of problems.  We need to do more than ask the father to make child support payments while at the same time not providing them rights as concerns child custody or visitation.  As attorneys, we will focus on what is in the best interest of the child rather than just what is in the best interest of one parent or the other.

Source: The  Shriver Report, "What About the Fathers?" Kathryn Edin, Jan. 12, 2014

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