aptitude to be a parent deserving of meaningful time with their children. 184 While mothers are
often provided government funding to assist them in financially providing for their children185
and often perceived as victims, few resources exist to help fathers obtain time with their
children.186 Instead, fathers often face social stigma; this stigma and shaming only compounds
the hardships fathers endure for being unable to financially provide for their children – a truly
unfair circumstance when they do not have the resources to secure any physical time with their
children.187 Some of the harsh penalties these fathers face include getting licenses revoked,
wages garnished, and even facing criminal or civil charges for falling behind on payments.188
Research has consistently verified that fathers – especially those who are unmarried –
continue to face an uphill battle when trying to gain a consistent and valuable relationship with
their children through the legal system.189 Unlike mothers or married fathers, unmarried fathers,
who usually also have lower-incomes and education rates, cannot seek custody of their children
without first filing a paternity action.190 Therefore, unmarried fathers – who studies show are
substantially less economically able to incur any legal costs – must secure more funds and take
additional steps maneuvering around a complicated legal system than their female or once
married counterparts for just a chance to secure a protected and substantial role in the lives of
their children.191 For courts to properly and fully be able to analyze the best interest of the
“Deadbeat Dad” Label, HUFFINGTON POST (Feb. 7, 2014), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-e-cordell/the-
184 See also Huntington, supra note 9.
185 See Soloman-Fears, supra note 157.
189 Huntington, supra note 95; see generally Michael H. v. Gerald D. 491 U.S. 110 (1989); see generally Lerman,
supra note 95.