Decades ago, it was almost always a given that a mother would win custody of her children. However, courts across the country and in Georgia have adopted a more gender-neutral approach in decisions regarding custody. Judges prefer to grant joint or shared custody, if reasonably possible to both parents. Even if a father is not perfect, the courts recognize that he still plays an important role in a child’s development.
If you are concerned that you will lose custody or visitation of your child, you should contact a mother’s rights lawyer in Alpharetta. A qualified lawyer with years of experience representing mothers in complicated legal matters regarding custody, child support, or paternity can be an invaluable advocate.
If a couple is unable to reach a custody agreement, a judge can decide based on the best interest of the child. Even though courts favor shared custody, the most contested issue in these matters is who gets primary custody. Generally, a court will give primary custody to the parent who has been the child’s primary caregiver. In many cases, this is the mother, but recently more and more fathers have been taking on this role as well. Here, the court is not looking at who makes the most money but more at the parent who has the most interaction with the child. For example: who gets the child ready for school, helps with homework, attends their extracurricular activities, meets with teachers, and cares for the child when they are sick.
The court will also evaluate other important matters such as the living situation of each parent, their lifestyles, work schedules, the relationship that a child has with each parent, and, depending on the age and maturity of the child, their preference. Combined, all these factors are weighed in favor of what will promote the child’s welfare and development. If a mother has concerns about any of these issues, she should contact a mother’s rights lawyer in the Alpharetta area who can further explain how the law may be applied in her case.
The most important thing for a mother to know in a child custody case is that facts are her best ally. It is important for a mother to gather evidence and support from family, friends, teachers, and if possible, members of the community to help support her position that her home is the best choice for the primary residence of the child.
It is also important for a mother to show that she is willing to foster a relationship between the child and the father. The court may frown upon a mother who attempts to diminish the father’s role in the child’s life just for the sake of obtaining custody of the child; this can lead to parental alienation which is frowned upon by Georgia family law courts. It is a difficult but very important balance to strike. A mother’s rights lawyer can help a mother find that balance.
A key concept in Alpharetta and throughout the state is that every child has a right to emotional and financial support from both parents. Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-7-2, both parents have a joint responsibility to provide for the care and maintenance of their child or children.
This obligation does not change when the parents no longer or have never lived together. In these cases, the court will grant custody of the child to one or both parents. If one parent receives primary physical custody, the other will be required to provide child support. An Alpharetta attorney can help a mother assert her right to support from her child’s other parent.
Every biological and adoptive mother has the right to prevent another party from seeking the adoption of her child. However, it is possible for a mother to waive this right or even for the State to intervene and terminate a maternal relationship if doing so is in the child’s best interests. The State may terminate a mother’s rights under limited circumstances, including abandonment, an inability to properly raise the child, and a history of family violence.
According to O.C.G.A. §19-8-9, a mother can surrender her parental rights by submitting a form to the State. Afterwards, she has four days to change her mind. After four days, the maternal relationship would be severed. However, the biological father may still retain his parental rights.
A compassionate Alpharetta mother’s rights lawyer understands that stakes and emotions are high when it comes to your child. An attorney can fight to protect your rights and preserve your relationship with your child.
If you are a mother who is interested in learning more about how a lawyer can assist you, make sure to reach out to our team of lawyers today.
By: Linda A