Fathers cherish the relationship that they have with their children, and the prospect of missing out on valuable time with their kids after a divorce or separation can be worrisome. Fathers often fear that the mothers of their children will receive custody and child support with little regard for their opinion.
With the help of a Johns Creek father’s rights lawyer from our team, you could make sure your voice is heard in your family law matter. Representation from a dedicated family attorney could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
In Georgia, a mother has the right to physical and legal custody of her child from the moment she gives birth. Only a court can terminate or restrict her parental rights. In contrast, a father’s rights to his children often depend on whether or not the parents were married when their children were born.
When parents are married and have a child, the law presumes that the husband is the legal father and he and the child’s mother share parental rights equally. In a divorce, the husband may seek sole or joint custody and may be ordered to pay child support.
As the legal father, a husband could still have timesharing rights and child support obligations even if someone else is the biological father. When the parents of a child were never married to each other, the mother will have sole parental rights unless and until the father establishes his paternity and files a legitimation action in court, as per Official Code of Georgia §19-7-22.
A father must first establish his legal rights in court before he can have parenting time with his children. Fathers who married the mother of their children do not have to go through this process, but unmarried fathers must prove their paternity.
Paternity is a legal designation that a man is the biological father of a child and which gives that child the legal right to inherit from the father and receive social security benefits from the father. It also obligates the father to pay child support, but it does not necessarily give the father custody rights or the right to any parenting time.
Legitimation actions give unmarried fathers custody rights over their children. In a Petition for Legitimation, a Johns Creek father’s right attorney could include claims for a variety of parental rights, including visitation, timesharing, and custody.
In any family law case involving children, Georgia courts expect both parents to work together to create a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of their children. Parents must decide how to split physical custody, meaning where the children live most of the time, as well as how to share legal custody, meaning who may make decisions on behalf of the children.
If parents do not share parenting time equally, the person with less time granted is generally required to pay child support. Parents who split custody relatively evenly will usually owe less in support payments than when the children live with one person for the majority of the year.
Fathers may not realize the extent of their rights when creating a parenting agreement and often agree to less time than they should receive. A father’s rights lawyer in John’s Creek could help dads fight for more time with their children and ensure that a parenting plan is fair to both parents.
Whenever practically possible, children benefit from healthy relationships with both of their parents, and a father’s influence can be critical to a child’s wellbeing. If you are facing a custody battle or want to petition the court for more time with your children, speak with a Johns Creek father’s rights lawyer and learn more about your legal options.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group