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How some fathers may struggle over child custody, support

When fathers in Georgia get a divorce or are not married to the mother of their children, they may face problems with custody and visitation. Courts are supposed to give equal consideration to mothers and fathers, but although mothers may also struggle in family court sometimes, they also make up over 80 percent of custodial parents.

If a father cannot make the full child support payment, he should still try to pay some portion of it. Penalties for not paying child support can include jail time, but showing a good faith effort may prevent this. Fathers may want to talk to an attorney about going to court and asking for a modification in support. If the court grants it, it will not affect child support that is already owed but may reduce future payments.

Fathers who are unmarried might need to take steps to establish paternity. They may have a better chance of getting generous visitation rights if they take the initiative rather than the state having to track them down. The court will make a decision about the arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.

A mother may file a protection order against the father because of concern about the child's safety. A father in this situation might want to talk to an attorney about whether it is possible to regain visitation rights.

Some fathers in a situation like this might be required by the court to take certain actions before getting visitation rights again such as a substance abuse program or parenting classes. However, there might also be situations in which parents can negotiate an agreement with their attorneys instead of having a judge do it. The agreement can still be made legally binding. Having an official agreement in place can be helpful if one parent violates its terms.

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Hecht Family Law
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