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How important are fathers in their children's lives?

It is seen all the time in the legal field: fathers who are shut out of their children's lives. Oftentimes this happens when a child is born out of wedlock and the man is not recognized as the child's legal father, and other times it occurs after a nasty divorce. Either way, men across Louisiana are left not knowing what they can do to become a part of their child's life and whether the effort is even worth it.

Studies have shown that the effort is certainly worth it. Actively engaged fathers have a tremendous impact on their children's lives. To start, children who have a father in their life are more likely to have better educational outcomes, extending throughout adolescence and adulthood. Engaged fathers also help their children become emotionally secure, confident, and able to acquire better social connections as they grow.

But that is not all. Children who have a father active in their life are less likely to be depressed and less likely to display disruptive behavior. These children also often exhibit higher self-esteem, which can be critical to other developmental areas.

As can be seen by these studies' findings, fathers are invaluable in their children's lives. However, when a father has difficulty accessing his child due to legal challenges, then it may be time for him to seek legal help. An experienced family law attorney may be able to help a father address paternity and/or custody issues in a way that seeks to preserve the child's best interests, which, ultimately, is paramount.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children," Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox, accessed on Oct. 23, 2015

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