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Proposed legislation could protect Missouri fathers' rights

It is natural for parents to seek both personal time with their children and the opportunity to make important decisions about their future. However, many states, including Missouri, do not automatically grant fathers' rights to the biological father of a child after a separation. The man must first establish paternity, which gives him the right to participate in important legal decisions about the child, such as adoption.

Unfortunately, Missouri fathers who take the necessary steps to secure a relationship with their children may still find themselves with a broken connection and an inability to see or communicate with their kids, especially in instances where the mother and child move to another state with different laws. 

The kind of hardship a father may face in this situation is exemplified by the current laws in Utah, which allow a mother to put a child up for adoption without the consent of a father who lives in another state. In fact, an out-of-state father does not even need to be notified of the adoption in order for it to go through, even if he is following the proper legal process in his own state.

A new bill in Utah intends to help put an end to this practice. The proposed law would create a way of sharing birth father registries across state lines. If the bill passes, it could indirectly affect fathers in Missouri and throughout the country; that is, if Missouri and other states take the necessary steps to participate.

If you are an unmarried father in Missouri who is seeking the best relationship possible with your son or daughter, you need to follow through on Missouri's legal process for establishing paternity. This will help to ensure that you will be aware of the actions involving your child before it is too late. Learning about state laws regarding fathers' rights, paternity and child custody can help you look out for the best interests of your child.

Source: Deseret News, "Birth father rights the focus of two bills under consideration by Utah Legislature," Marjorie Cortez, March 2, 2014

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