The relationship between a father and his children is special and should be protected. If you are going through a divorce or child custody dispute and wish to effectively preserve your paternal connection, you may need the help of a skilled family attorney from our team. A Suwanee fathers’ rights lawyer could help you learn more about your legal rights as a dad and then work with you to enforce them.

Parental Responsibilities in Court

Many fathers assume that the mother of their children will be favored in custody issues. While this may have been true decades ago, today Georgia law states that judges must make child custody decisions without regard to the gender of either parent.

A father can petition the court to receive primary physical custody, legal custody, or shared custody of his child, but he must establish his paternity and legitimate the child. A father who was married to a child’s mother at the time of that child’s birth is automatically considered to be the child’s legal father under current law.

An unmarried father must take steps in court to prove his biological connection. For example, he could sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form with the mother when their child is born or shortly thereafter, or he could submit to a DNA test to establish his paternity.

Additionally, an unmarried father must undergo a legitimation process to create a legal relationship between him and his children outside of biological paternity. Without legitimation, a biological father may not be granted custody of his children or any visitation rights, but he could still be ordered to pay child support. For these reasons, any dad seeking to challenge his legal access to his children should enlist the help of a Suwanee fathers’ rights attorney.

Custody and Visitation Rights for Dads

A father who has established his paternity and legitimated his children has equal standing with their mother to seek custody or visitation. A judge must make child-sharing decisions based on the following factors:

  • The home environment of both parents;
  • Both parents’ relationships and attachments to their children;
  • Both parents’ mental and physical capacities to care for their children; and
  • Either party’s history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or neglect.

Depending on how these and other factors balance out, a judge may award sole physical and legal custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents. A Suwanee parental rights attorney could help fathers understand how these decisions are made.

Fathers and Child Support

Child support payments are meant to help a custodial parent with expenses incurred from raising kids, which might include rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and food and clothing costs. Parents who share relatively equal custody typically have lower child support payments, whereas payments are usually higher in cases where one parent provides most of the childcare.

Fathers who have custody of their children can petition the court or ask Georgia’s Division of Child Support Services for help with seeking child support payments. Custodial dads can also ask a judge to hold mothers in contempt for failing to make the necessary payments. In any case, dads who wish to make changes to their child-sharing arrangements should consult with a fathers’ rights attorney in Suwanee about how best to accomplish their goals.

Contact a Suwanee Fathers’ Rights Attorney Today

Sometimes family law cases seem to be stacked against fathers. Even though the law may be equal, it can be difficult to fight against long established stereotypes and prejudices against dads. Get the help you need to protect your relationship with your children by scheduling an appointment with a Suwanee fathers’ rights lawyer today.

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