All too often, Virginian parents struggle to find a way to raise their children when they are no longer in a relationship. Whether a child is born out of wedlock or a child's parents divorce, negative animosity amongst parents can cause custody disputes. In some instances, a custodial parent may even seek to suspend or terminate the noncustodial parent's visitation rights. This is often the case with noncustodial fathers.
Yet, the importance of suitable fathers in children's lives is undeniable. Studies have shown that actively engaged fathers increase the educational outcomes of their children. Their children may have higher IQs, better verbal skills, and higher intellectual functioning. Additionally, children with involved dads are more likely to be emotionally secure and have more self-control and better social skills. There are even studies showing that children with actively engaged fathers are less likely to have behavioral problems.
Despite the importance of fathers, though, many men in Virginia are left without significant contact with their children. This could be because of a bitter divorce with the child's mother, or it could be because paternity has not been established. Either way, there are legal avenues that may be open to fathers to help them acquire the access to their child that they deserve.
It is worth noting that acquiring fathers' rights is not automatic. For example, a father with a history of domestic violence and drug addiction may have difficulty acquiring solecustody or even visitation rights. This does not mean that he should not try if he has turned his life around and believes that contact is in the best interest of his child, but he should be aware that it might be a contested battle. Therefore, fathers who want to seek visitation or custody should consider if having an attorney on their side would be beneficial.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children," accessed on Oct. 18, 2015