domestic relations. He by whom a child is begotten. 2. A father is the natural guardian of his children, and his duty by the natural law consists in maintaining them and educating them during their infancy, and making a necessary provision for their happiness in life. This latter, however, is a duty which the law does not enforce. 3. By law, the father is bound to support his children, if of sufficient ability, even though they have property of their own. But he is not bound, without some agreement, to pay another for maintaining them; nor is he bound to pay their debts, unless he has authorized them to be contracted. This obligation ceases as soon as the child becomes of age, unless he becomes chargeable to the public. 4. The rights of the father are authority over his children, to enforce all his lawful commands, and to correct with moderation his children for disobedience. A father may delegate his power over the person of his child to a tutor or instructor, the better to accomplish the purposes of his education. This power ceases on the arrival of the child at the age of twenty-one years. Generally, the father is entitled to the services of his children during their minority.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
The male parent. He by whom a child is begotten. As used in law, this term may (according to the context and the nature of the instrument) include a putative as well as a legal father, also a stepfather, an adoptive father, or a grandfather, but is not as wide as the word “parent,” and cannot be so construed as to include a female.