As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, August is Child Support Awareness Month. The state Office of Child Support recently shared some facts that drive home the importance of the roles that non-custodial fathers and mothers play in the lives of their children.
According to the state, Research shows that when both parents are actively and positively involved in their childrens lives, the children are more likely to lead healthy and productive lives.
This is true no matter what size or shape the family comes in: moms and dads living together with their children, moms and dads living apart and cooperatively raising their children together, grandparents or other relatives serving as primary caregivers, single moms or dads raising their children, and various combinations of blended families.
In Ohio, 42 percent of children are born outside of marriage. For unmarried parents, a first step in developing a parental bond is establishing paternity.
Children with legal links to their fathers are more likely to know their full medical histories, have increased access to financial resources, and form a bond with both parents, the state says. With paternity established, a child is more likely to develop a positive self-image that helps him or her become a productive, healthy adult. Children who have the involvement of both parents in their lives are less likely to use drugs, more likely to graduate from high school, and less likely to become involve in criminal activities.
I encourage unmarried mothers or fathers to sign a paternity affidavit to establish legal paternity at the time of birth. Paternity also can be established later or through the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
If you have questions about establishing paternity, you may visit www.oh-paternity.com or call 1-888-810-OHIO.