Although mothers are traditionally considered the primary caretakers, recent trends acknowledge the value of having both of parents active in their children’s lives. However, there are many legal complexities that could arise for both married and unmarried fathers during or after a split from the mother.

If you are dealing with custody or visitation rights, a Cherokee County fathers’ rights lawyer can provide crucial guidance. Navigating the legal system and asserting your parental rights are often easier with the support of an experienced child custody attorney.

What Parental Rights Do Dads Have?

The rights that a father automatically has to his children are significantly impacted by whether he is or was married to the mother. When married parents divorce in Cherokee County, dads do not have to take any additional steps to establish paternity or legitimacy. A court will decide custody and visitation disputes based on a variety of factors, the most important one being the child’s best interests.

On the other hand, unmarried fathers who wish to have any custody or visitation rights must establish paternity and legitimate their relationship to their child. An experienced lawyer can help both married and unmarried dads in Cherokee County pursue their legal rights to their children.

How is Paternity Established in Cherokee County?

If a child is conceived during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the father unless legal action is taken to show otherwise. When a child is born outside of marriage, the couple may sign a paternity acknowledgment form to legally establish the identity of the biological father.

However, if there is doubt as to the identity of a child’s dad, there may be a paternity suit. Through the results of a blood test, the court can determine the identity of the biological father. Once paternity is established, legitimation is the next step in securing the dad’s rights.

Legitimation for Fathers

Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-7-22, the issues of paternity and legitimation are separate. The simple fact that a man is a child’s biological father does not automatically give him rights of custody or visitation. Married dads do not need to file for legitimation, as their children will automatically be presumed legitimate. However, for unmarried fathers to have any custody or visitation rights to their children, they must petition the court for legitimation in the county where the child’s mother lives.

Legitimation establishes a man as the legal father of the child. If the man is not married to the child’s mother, this is the only way for him to establish rights to the child. Even if a man is listed as the father of a child on the birth certificate, he must still file for legitimation. Until the court approves the father’s petition and legitimizes his relationship with his child, the mother may deny him visitation requests. A diligent family lawyer can help dads in our area file legitimation petitions and pursue their rights.

Seek Legal Advocacy from a Cherokee County Fathers’ Rights Attorney

Regardless of whether you were married or unmarried when your children were born, you can petition for custody and visitation through the proper court proceedings. However, pursuing access to your children may involve several steps and complex court proceedings. Get in touch with a Cherokee County fathers’ rights lawyer to provide legal assistance and help achieve a positive conclusion to your case.

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