What Are Fathers’ Rights in Child Custody Cases in Georgia?

Fathers in Georgia have equal rights as mothers in child custody cases. Sadly, most of them don’t recognize their rights, and they waive them off unknowingly, especially if they don’t understand Georgia laws on child custody, paternity, and legitimation.

Georgia laws can be complex, especially for unmarried fathers. If you’re a father going through a divorce and fighting for your child’s custody, seek legal counsel about your rights. Skilled family law attorneys in Alpharetta can explain everything you need to know about enforcing your rights to visitation, whether you were married or unmarried to the child’s mother.

Fatherhood and Legitimation

Child custody is often granted to a child’s biological mother or primary caregiver, and the only way for a father to win control is through legitimation, even if his name is listed on the child’s birth certificate. Legitimation is the process a father can undertake to establish a relationship with their child legally.

The legal representation for fathers in Alpharetta explain that the process is only necessary if the father is not married to the child’s mother. Legitimation makes it possible for fathers to establish paternity, giving them a chance for a more favorable outcome when enforcing their custody and visitation rights.

Both parents can agree and consent to the process of legitimation. If they do, they must complete an Acknowledgement of Legitimation before the child’s first birthday. In some cases, the child’s mother may not consent to the process, or they may dispute paternity. In that case, you can file a legitimation petition to the court in the mother’s county of residence.

What Happens After Filing a Legitimation Petition?

Your legitimation petition may include visitation, parenting time, or custody claims. The Department of Human Services may file a paternity petition in the name of and for the benefit of the child in question. The court may pass an order declaring the relationship with the child legitimate or recognize you as the child’s legal father if the child was born out of wedlock.

Establishing your father’s rights in visitation through legitimation can be a lengthy and demanding process, given the requirements and the fact that your child’s mother can contest it. Consider retaining experienced Alpharetta fathers’ rights attorneys to guide you through and help you fight this tough legal battle.

What is the Difference Between Legitimation and Paternity?

The determination of paternity depends on a child’s biological or genetic connection to the purported father. Once the link has been proved, the father’s paternity as it relates to the child may be established, making the father financially responsible for the child’s maintenance as long as the child is a minor.

Under Georgia Law, paternity and legitimation are different. State courts determine that no man has an absolute right to being granted legitimization on the sole basis of being a child’s biological father. Courts must evaluate factors besides genetics, such as the child’s best interests and welfare, in granting visitation rights.

Does Proving Paternity Automatically Protect My Visitation Rights?

It’s important to note that while you may be found to be the biological father and be granted paternity, you still may not have visitation rights. From a legal perspective of asserting your fathers’ rights in fighting for visitation, even having your name on the child’s birth certificate is not enough.

That’s why it’s crucial to establish legitimation with the help of knowledgeable fathers’ rights lawyers in Alpharetta. In addition to enforcing your visitation rights, legitimation confers the child’s rights to inherit from you.

What Are My Rights as the Non-Custodial Parent?

Once you legitimize the relationship with your child, you gain an edge in asserting other rights in the parenting schedule. Your Alpharetta family law attorneys can work with you to protect your rights as follows:

The Right to Make Decisions About the Parenting Plan

As a father, you have the right to have a say about the parenting plan to protect your rights as much as possible. Your lawyers can provide legal assistance to ensure you secure your visitation rights, which should be, in most cases, unsupervised. You may also be able to secure legal custody rights to participate in making crucial decisions affecting your child’s life.

The Right to Enforce Visitation Time

A parenting order establishes visitation rights; the custodial parent must respect and uphold the other parent’s rights. Exercise your rights to ensure the parenting plan has explicit provisions for pick-up and drop-off times, transportation, and holiday schedules.

The Right to Fair Child Support Obligation

The non-custodial parent is often obligated to make child support parents to the custodial parent. Alpharetta’s fathers’ rights attorneys can guide you through the child support laws for determining your child support obligation, ensuring a fair determination. You’re entitled to an appropriate child support calculation based on a complete and accurate income of your income and that of your ex-spouse.

The Right to Seek Modification of the Custody and Visitation Order

Substantial material changes may occur, leaving you unable to keep up with the current visitation and child support order. If you’re unhappy with the order, your former spouse is uncooperative, or your children have expressed a desire to spend more time with you, you may be entitled to a modification of the parenting plan. Your lawyers can provide legal guidance.

An Experienced Family Law Attorney Protecting Your Fathers’ Rights in a Visitation Order

Fighting a legal custody battle can be challenging for fathers, especially if they are unmarried to the child’s mother. The law requires them to legitimize their relationship with the child to enable them to enforce their visitation rights. If you’re a father wishing to establish your visitation rights, consult experienced fathers’ rights attorneys in Alpharetta.

Hecht Family Law hosts skilled family law lawyers dedicated to giving you a helping hand as you seek to establish your rights. Regarding family law issues, we know how crucial it is to fight for your rights. We fight to ensure you receive fair and just treatment in all family law matters. Call us at (470) 291-5342 to schedule a FREE case assessment.