Becoming a father is one of the greatest gifts a man can receive. And he can play a crucial role in his child’s life. Yet, far too often men are locked out of their children’s lives, whether by the actions of a child’s mother or a father’s inaction.

At first glance, the law appears to favor mothers when it comes to child custody determinations. After all, in most instances, without additional action, a mother is presumed to be the custodial parent. To secure child custody or robust visitation rights, a man need only show why his proposed arrangement furthers the child’s best interests. In order to fully do so, a father needs to understand the importance a dad plays in a child’s life.

Children who have an active father in their life can reap a whole host of benefits. They are more adept at building stable relationships, and they generally develop higher IQs. Children who have an active father in their life are also much less likely to engage in risky behavior. These children tend to have fewer psychological and emotional problems, too. In other words, the presence of a father in a child’s life is oftentimes imperative to that child’s future physical, psychological, emotional, and financial future.

Yet, in many instances men have to work to be active in their child’s life. This may mean fighting to demonstrate how a certain level of involvement is necessary to support and protect the child’s best interests. To do so, fathers may have to present evidence that not only supports their position, but also indicates how the position of the child’s other parent is untenable. This can be a complicated and contentious process, but a skilled family law advocate can help fathers fight for their relationship with their children.