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Fathers' rights in divorce can have big impact on kids' lives

The importance of the role of the father in parenting has often been overlooked in the courts. Traditionally in divorce cases, courts grant custody of the child to the mother, assuming that it is in the best interest of the child. But times have changed and that thinking has changed as well. Nowadays, both parents have equal rights when it comes to the children. Fathers' rights, if not exercised, may take a toll on the child in many different ways, especially in the teenage years.

Tennessee residents might have heard about a 14-year-old student from Hawkins County who recently left a suicide note with her guidance counselor. The assistant principal contacted the sheriff upon learning about the note. When the sheriff and the school officials located the student, they evaluated her and made sure that she would seek professional help.

The student's parents had recently gone through a divorce and the mother was granted custody. Part of what was troubling the girl was that she was missing her father, who had moved far away from her. She reportedly told officials that she wanted to move to her father's home.

The equality of both parents' rights during a divorce is very important for children. The fathers' rights include (but are not limited to) child support, custody and visitation. Protecting these institutions helps to ensure the child's future. Violating these rights can make an already challenging situation even more difficult for children, because they are denied an important relationship in their lives. Despite the separation of the family, both parents must consider that the needs of the child are not just financial, but emotional as well.

Source: Timesnews.net, "Police, school officials find help for Hawkins student who left suicide note," Jeff Bobo, Oct. 9, 2012

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