How to Be an Unmarried Father
When a baby is born to parents who aren’t married, in many cases the father has as many rights to the child as the mother.
It is true that every state and municipality has different laws about the rights of unwed parents, most states allow unmarried parents the same rights as married ones.
When a man is declared to be the father of a child, he gains all the same rights as a married father.
What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have?
Depending on the part of the country you live in, unmarried fathers’ rights differ.
Different jurisdictions have different definitions for the word “father”. In most states, any man who is listed on the child’s birth certificate is the child’s father. This is because these men have chosen to be described as the “father”.
If an unmarried man is listed on a child’s birth certificate, most of the time he is granted the same custody rights as a married father.
The other side of the coin is that once a man is legally designated a child’s “father”, he has to provide some form of child support. Most of the time, this issue is arranged between the two unmarried people, but in cases where there is a dispute about visitation rights, the court may have to intervene. In these cases, the court determines the right amount of financial support for the child.
Unmarried fathers who are listed as the child’s legal parent have many of the same rights as a married father. Medical decisions and other parental responsibilities are legally allowed to both the mother and father. This means that unmarried fathers are just as much a part of the decision-making process with a child as a married one.
How to Be a Good Unmarried Dad
Being a good unmarried dad is no different from being a married dad. Here are five simple steps you can take to make sure you’re a good unmarried dad.
1. Have fun. Parenthood is a huge responsibility, but having a new baby in the house is a true joy. Don’t let the stress of being an unmarried dad show in your actions and your words — have fun with your new child.
2. Spend time with your kids. Part of being responsible for your children is to spend as much time with then as possible. Unmarried dads have the same responsibilities in child rearing as married ones — if you miss out on spending time with your kids now, you may never get that chance back.
3. Be a good teacher. While you don’t need a teaching certificate to be a good unmarried father, you teach your kids everyday with your words and your actions. When your kid is old enough, you can spend time talking to him or her about your choices in the past, and why they did or didn’t work out. Your children have the opportunity to learn from your own mistakes and successes — don’t deprive them of that just because you’re not married to the child’s mother.
4. Be affectionate. Us men tend to be uncomfortable offering our kids affection and talking to them about how much we love them. Being affectionate with a child is the best way of proving your love for them. Children learn from the way we treat them, and showing affection is the best in-road to teaching children how to love.
5. Respect your child’s mother. Children mimic their parents’ behavior, so unless you want to teach your kid that it is okay to disrespect women, you need to treat their mother with kindness.