Family law in Milton has traditionally favored mothers over fathers with respect to child custody and related matters. Today, however, family courts in Milton and most other jurisdictions operate on the principle that fathers have an equal right to participate in the upbringing of their children.
If your child’s other parent is attempting to limit your parental rights, do not hesitate to contact a Milton fathers’ rights lawyer. A seasoned child custody attorney from our firm can help you establish paternity and file a petition for legitimation so you can exercise your parental rights.
When a married couple in Milton has a child, state law presumes that the man is the child’s biological father. However, when a child is born out of wedlock, paternity can be established in several ways.
The hospital where the child is born is required by law to give all unmarried parents the option to sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form. Signing this form in front of a notary public and submitting it to the State Office of Vital Records would grant a father certain rights and responsibilities.
Another way paternity can be established for a child born out of wedlock is through a court order. The mother, alleged father, child, and any relative taking care of the child are able to file a paternity action, which may require DNA testing from the potential father. A dedicated Milton attorney would have the knowledge and experience necessary to defend a father’s rights in court.
Establishing paternity does not automatically give a father legal custody over his children or visitation rights. The father of a child born outside of a marriage can only gain those rights through a process called legitimation. Paternity determines a child’s right to receive financial support from their father, while legitimation can give a father shared parenting power.
Should you consult a fathers’ rights lawyer in Milton to help establish paternity, they can also help you simultaneously file a “third-party” petition for legitimation. According to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-7-22, a petition for legitimation must usually be filed in Superior Court in the county where the child’s mother lives. This statute also gives the mother the right to be notified of the petition and to have the opportunity to argue that legitimation would not be proper.
When considering a petition for legitimation, a family law court in Milton will ultimately make a decision in the best interests of the child. In order to gain custody or visitation rights, the father must formally request them in the petition and demonstrate that it would be consistent with the best interests of the child for him to have those rights.
Being married to a child’s mother, and therefore being their biological father, automatically gives you certain rights. However, if you were not married to your child’s mother when they were born, you may need to take one or more additional steps to gain your parental rights and responsibilities. Consider scheduling an appointment with a Milton father’s rights lawyer today for more information on how to initiate this process.