Children often have the most success in life when they have the support of both of their parents. Unfortunately, many fathers face difficulties in family law cases regarding custody of their children. Some courts in Georgia still hold on to the notion that children should stay with their mothers and give dads fewer rights than they deserve.
If you are fighting for time with your children as their father, a Roswell father’s rights lawyer could help you no matter what your family law issue. With a seasoned family attorney’s help, you could more effectively seek to enforce your legal rights and stand up for your—and your child’s—best interests.
Paternity actions establish that a man is the biological father of a child. These cases could be filed by the mother of the child, the state’s Division of Child Support Services, or by the father of the child.
Once a father proves his paternity, he may be ordered to make child support payments to the mother. Paternity actions in Georgia do not give fathers custody or visitation rights.
Legitimation is the process of becoming the legal father of a child. A father who is married to the mother of his child does not have to file for legitimation. Unmarried fathers, however, can only receive visitation or custody rights if a judge signs an order stating that the man is the legal father of the child in question.
A judge is not required to grant a father’s petition for legitimation. The court could refuse to grant the petition if it is not in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with their father—for instance, in cases where the father was abusive or neglectful.
Once a father establishes his paternity and legitimizes his relationship to his child or children in court, he has the same rights to custody and visitation as the children’s mother(s). The father can petition the court for sole or shared physical custody, or for sole or joint legal custody.
If a father does not have sole or shared physical custody, he may still be entitled to visitation with his children. Georgia law presumes that both parents will be sharing time with the children, so a father has the same rights to liberal visitation as a mother.
However, while both parents are entitled to pursue custody or visitation, those rights actually belong to the children, and a judge will only order children to spend time with either of their parents if it is not harmful and is in the children’s best interests. A Roswell father’s rights attorney could offer further clarification about how this process works and advocate on a father’s behalf throughout every stage.
Fathers have the right to be notified before another person adopts their child, and they have the right to contest any adoption in court if they have established their paternity. If a father has established paternity, then he must give consent for another person to adopt his child.
A father who has established his paternity can challenge any adoption in court. With the help of a father’s rights lawyer in Roswell County, a father could work to prove to the court that he is a fit parent and should be allowed to maintain a relationship with his child.
If a father has not had contact with his children after they were born, was abusive to the children or their mother, or otherwise abandoned the family, he may be subject to proceedings to terminate his parental rights. If a judge decides to terminate a father’s rights based on such behavior, he would have no legal relationship with the child and would not be allowed to visit or make any decisions on the child’s behalf. Termination of parental rights is permanent, so fathers who are facing a case for termination should get help from experienced legal counsel immediately.
Fathers have to make tough decisions during family law cases and may need experienced legal representation to help them make the best decisions for their family. If you are a father pursuing a divorce or child custody matter, or if you need to modify your existing family law agreement, a Roswell father’s rights attorney could help you learn more about your rights. Call today to speak with a member of our intake team.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group