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Paternity: fathers play a critical role in children's development

Across Florida there are many children that are born out of wedlock. This can and often does present a number of issues. For example, a custodial parent, which in this case would be the child's mother, may struggle to carry the financial burden of raising that child to the age of majority. On the other hand, fathers may have trouble developing a relationship with their child, especially considering the fact that they are not automatically bestowed with legal rights to the child.

Yet, studies have shown the importance of father participation in the raising of a child. To start, children who have fathers involved in their lives tend to develop higher IQs compared to those children whose fathers are uninvolved in their lives. Additionally, toddlers who have playful and communicative fathers usually develop better cognitive abilities and language skills. When fathers are supportive and caring of their children, then their children are typically better equipped to handle the stresses of school. In fact, studies show that these children are more likely to receive A's on their schoolwork compared to those children whose fathers are uninvolved.

While many of these benefits occur early in a child's life, they can have long-term implications. High school children with involved fathers tend to have better verbal skills, academic achievement, and intellectual capacity. These benefits can result in long-term emotional health, sense of security, and even functioning in the workplace.

In short, then, a father can have a profound impact on his child's life. Yet, unless legal action is taken and paternity is established, many father lack the legal right that all-important role. This is why establishing paternity can be of critical importance to a father. It can endow him with fathers' rights, meaning he can then seek visitation, child custody, and even child support. Fathers who find themselves wondering what else they can do to be a part of their child's life should therefore consider reaching out to a family law professional who knows how to handle all matters related to paternity.

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