I am old school. I believe it is best if a child enters the world with a father and mother who are married at the time of the child's birth. A child needs a sense that his or her mother and father loved each other on the day the child was born, that they were a couple committed to each other and to their new child.
I recognize that many couples choose not to become married even when expecting a child. Such couples can love their child just as intensely as any married couple. I will not disparage such couples for choosing not to marry. I simply state my personal preference that couples marry before having children, even if such marriage occurs in the ninth month of pregnancy.
Marriage confers rights, both legal and practical, unavailable to the unmarried, especially for the men and boys who father children. Too often, the "baby daddy" is not given the same respect as the father in a marriage receives, either by society or the courts which determine child custody, visitation, and authority for the child when a couple are no longer a couple.
Too often, we see both extremes in the "baby mama" and "baby daddy" dynamic. Sometimes the father acts as if his duties are limited to buying diapers, perhaps some baby food, and making periodic visits to see his child. That is not being a father. That is doing the absolute minimum of one who has fathered a child.
Sometimes the "baby mama" acts as if she holds title to the child, and that it is her sole right to determine whether her baby's daddy can see the child, and she controls all the circumstances regarding same. Sometimes the "baby mama" feels that it is her right to cut off the baby's father from seeing the child, merely because the father has a new woman in his life. That is wrong - legally wrong and morally wrong.
Both parents owe their child a duty of love and support. Both are responsible for the baby's needs, the baby's care, and the baby's economic support. Neither parent can or should deny the other contact with the child for anything but the reasons a court would approve, such as subjecting the child to a dangerous environment or situation.
Whether parents are married when the child is born and separated or divorced later, or whether the couple is unmarried and separated later, the duty of each to be devoted to the child remains. Part of that duty is the obligation of each to deal respectfully with each other. It means not making the payment of child support a condition for seeing the child. If there is unpaid child support, there are governmental and private groups which will endeavor to collect it.
Every child deserves to have a father, when that father is not a danger to the child and is willing to be in the child's life. Baby daddy or not, decently behaving men and boys should be allowed to see their children. They should also recognize the duties which go with that, and attempt to meet them.
Nothing is sadder than the child who has to wonder why their father is not in his or her life. Does he not care? Has he been excluded by a resentful mother? No matter the cause, the guilty persons should step up and meet the responsibility. Girls and boys alike need a good, decent father who loves and supports them. When a mother denies the father contact with his child, shame on her. When a father refuses to be supportive of his child and in contact with it, shame on him. As for the single parents who have to be both father and mother to the child because the other parent fails, glory be to them.