Paternity is the establishment of a child's legal father. It is important -- especially for unmarried couples -- to establish this status because in general, a child is not considered to have a father if the couple is not married. There are many reasons why you should make sure this process is undertaken, not the least of which is protecting your paternal rights.
Many people believe that fathers do not get a fair shake in court. A common perception is that courts favor mothers over fathers. In the past, this was often true. Fathers were viewed as being the primary breadwinners, rather than the primary caretakers of the children. Consequently, fathers were not always provided with the child custody arrangements they wanted and deserved. Fortunately, family courts in Missouri and Illinois have come a long way in recognizing fathers' rights. Today's court system strongly favors having both parents involved in a child's life.
According to a recent study, "Married with Children" is now more accurately a reference to the TV series than to the majority of relationships in the United States involving children. The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows that less than half of children under the age of 18 live in what was once considered a "traditional" household: a mom and a dad, each in their first marriage, with children born of that marriage.