Despite what some may believe, mothers and fathers have equal parenting rights in Georgia. While many years ago the courts presumed the mothers to be the more competent caretakers, this is no longer the case. The courts have since recognized that fathers play an equally important role when it comes to their child’s development and well-being.

If you are a father who is involved in or anticipating custody litigation, you should contact a father’s rights lawyer in Alpharetta. A skilled attorney who has spent years protecting the rights and interests of fathers can be an important advocate.

Establishing a Father’s Paternity

Although mothers and fathers have equal parenting rights, unlike mothers, fathers are in a unique position of having to establish their paternity before custody proceedings can begin. There are several ways a father can do this.

First, if a father and mother are married when a child is born, then the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. If a man believes that he fathered a child with a married woman, then he has the burden of proof, as the husband will be the presumed father until evidence to the contrary is provided. This can usually be done with genetic testing.

If a father wants to assert his rights to custody or visitation over a child that was born out of wedlock, he may file a petition for a legitimation proceeding. It is important to understand that simply putting a father’s name on a birth certificate does not establish paternity. A father’s rights attorney in the Alpharetta area can help guide fathers through the legal steps that are required to obtain their rights.

How Do Alpharetta Courts Decide Who Gets Custody?

Keeping in line with the standard of most other states, an Alpharetta judge will make a custody decision based on the best interest of the child. Therefore, a judge will try to place a child with the parent is who most suitable to maintaining the child’s well-being, as well as promotive a supportive environment for growth and development.

Once a judge evaluates the facts of the case, they will decide how legal custody, physical custody, and visitation will be divided. Here are some of the factors that a judge may consider:

  • The parents’ mental health
  • The parents’ ability to provide a stable home
  • Evidence of the parents’ abusing drugs or alcohol
  • The child’s relationship with their parents
  • Instances of abuse or domestic violence
  • The child’s preference, if they are of an appropriate age, which is age 14 in Georgia
  • Any other factors that a judge deems relevant

What is the Impact of Paternity on Child Support?

Establishing the paternity of a child is essential to answering questions about child support. The father of a child has the obligation to provide financial support to the other parent if he is not granted primary custody rights, regardless of his marital status. On the other hand, if a family law judge awards primary physical custody to a father, he can seek child support payments from the other parent.

Additionally, the court can issue temporary child support pending the outcome of the paternity case. According to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-7-46.2, family courts can issue temporary child support if one parent provides clear and convincing evidence of paternity upon filing an initial complaint. Thereafter, if the court determines a man to be the father, these payments will go to the petitioner.

Adoption Rights

In Alpharetta, most adults can petition a family court for the right to adopt a child, regardless of whether a biological relationship exists. For example, many stepparents wish to formalize their paternal relationships with children who are not biologically related to them.

According to O.C.G.A. §19-8-3, any married adult over the age of 25 who is living with their spouse is eligible to adopt a child. Additionally, the court must certify that the adoptive parent is financially, physically, and mentally able to have permanent custody of a child.

It is important to note a prospective father must ensure that a biological father’s parenting rights have been relinquished. An Alpharetta fathers’ rights attorney can help determine if the biological father has voluntarily waived those rights or if the State has terminated them.

Reach Out to an Alpharetta Father’s Rights Attorney Today

There is nothing more sacred than the bond between a parent and child. An Alpharetta father’s rights lawyer knows how important it is for you to be actively involved in your child’s life. No parent wants to miss out on precious milestones and a lifetime of memories.

Your rights as a parent deserve to be protected by a competent lawyer who knows the importance of family values. If you would like to know more about how an attorney can help you protect your rights as a father, call for a consultation.

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