Children need their fathers in their lives just as much as they need their mothers. Therefore, if you are a father, it is essential to advocate for your rights and relationship with your kids.
If you are a divorcing dad concerned about protecting your relationship with your children, a Gwinnett County fathers’ rights lawyer can help. Working with a diligent family lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected.
Under certain circumstances, before a father can receive any type of legal custody or visitation with his children, he must establish paternity or legitimize them in court. In cases where the parents of a child were married, the marriage legitimizes the father’s paternity. If the parents were not married, either the mother or the father would have to file an action in court prior before a judge will act.
Mothers usually begin paternity actions in court to receive child support. These cases require the father to submit to a DNA test to prove that he is the biological parent of the child. Once this happens, the father can seek visitation or custody and may be obligated to make support payments.
On the other hand, a legitimation action can only be filed by fathers. These cases are similar to paternity actions and establish a child as that father’s heir. Once a court grants this action, the father can then seek parenting time with his child.
Fathers in Gwinnett can seek two types of custody over their children: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the children live and who has control over their daily lives. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions regarding the kids, such as where they go to school or what religion they practice, which extracurricular activities they perform, and what medical care and treatments are necessary.
Usually, one parent will be designated the primary custodian of the children, and the other parent will have visitation or parenting time. But it is becoming more and more common for parents to share joint physical custody evenly, regardless of gender.
In the past, state laws and judges presumed that children were best cared for by their mothers. However, the law has changed to reflect the idea that fathers are just as necessary to a child’s wellbeing and a presumption that favoring the mother is unfair.
When determining which parent should have primary custody of the children and how to divide parenting time, they must consider what is in the best interests of each child. Courts will generally make decisions that foster continuity and stability.
They will also examine the relationship of each parent with the children and how involved each parent is in their upbringing. Fathers who have a history of involvement with their children’s lives, education, extracurriculars, and other activities have a better chance of gaining full or joint custody. Regardless of their level of involvement, however, dads still start on an equal basis with mothers and have the right to fight for equivalent time with their kids.
Even though it is becoming more common for parties to share equal time with their children, it can sometimes be an uphill battle for dads wanting more time with their kids. If you are planning to get divorced or want more time with your children, a Gwinnett County fathers’ rights lawyer can help. Call today to speak with a member of our team to learn more about your options today.