Father's Rights : "I want to be a Dad to my kids"
Establishing and enforcing your rights as a father to your children - How We Can Help
As a father fighting to be involved in the lives of his children, you may recognize the frustration, confusion and fear that can permeate this experience. You're not alone if you are wondering what steps you might take to insure your parental rights and become an active, engaged part of your kids' lives. Fathers with custody issues have many questions about their legal rights in Georgia - it's difficult to know where to start and who to turn for advice. If you are going through a divorce or if you were never married to your child's mother, then you may very well have a custody issue. It's important to seek legal counsel in your local area - or the area where the child lives - to make sure you know which route to take to establish and protect your rights as a father to your children.
Legitimation - when you're not married to your child's mother
Legitimation is a crucial process for unmarried fathers in Georgia who wish to establish their parental rights. It is essential to note that being listed on the birth certificate is not enough under the law in Georgia to be declared the "legal father" of your child. The only "right" this gives you is for the mother to pursue you to get you to pay child support. And she does not have to give you any rights whatsoever to see or visit with your children, unless and until you are legitimated in court. To be legitimated, you must file a petition for legitimation with the court, take a DNA test, and then the court will decide whether to agree with your demands to be the child's legal father or not, along with custody rights and visitation rights - if it is in the best interest of the child for you to be in the child's life or not.
By going through the legitimation process, fathers can secure custody rights and establish a legal relationship with their child, once the legitimation is granted. We understand that navigating the legal system can be complex and overwhelming, which is why we are here to help. Our team is dedicated to providing guidance and support to unmarried fathers seeking to legitimize their parental status in Georgia, specifically the North Metro Atlanta Area. Together, we can ensure that fathers and their children have the legal recognition and protection they deserve.
Father's rights in a Georgia Divorce case
In a Georgia divorce case, it is important to know that father's rights are just as important as mother's rights in the eyes of the court. While historically courts have often favored mothers when determining custody arrangements, this is no longer the case. Fathers have the right to fight for primary custody and should always do what is best for the children involved. Is the mother absent? Is she abusive? Does she want to move away and start over again, without children as her responsibility? If so, you may have a strong case to gain primary physical custody (meaning the children live with you most of the time each year) of your children. Do not just "roll over" if you do not want to. Georgia courts recognize father's rights in divorce cases and that fathers are necessary in their children's lives.
It is important to remember that custody decisions before the court are and should be made based on factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, the parents' ability to provide a stable home environment, and the child's overall wellbeing. Basically, what the court wants to know is: is this custody arrangement in the best interest of the child, to promote their health and future? As you navigate the divorce process, it is important to work with a competent and communicative legal team who can advocate for your rights as a father and help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children.
Right to Legal Custody
As a father, whether going through a divorce or seeking to be legitimized, it is crucial to understand your legal right to be involved in the upbringing of your children. You automatically have legal custody for children born or adopted as a result of your marriage. For unmarried fathers, you ask the court to give you this legal custody in your legitimation petition - and if the court grants it, then you have it and it cannot be taken away from you without further court interference.
In the state of Georgia, legal custody means that you have the authority, along with any other legal custodians such as their mother, to make decisions on behalf of your children. This includes choices about their religious upbringing, participation in extracurricular activities, non-emergency healthcare, and education. It is important to take an active role in your child's life and advocate for their best interests. You have a right to be involved in these decisions, and the court system is here to protect those rights. When going through a divorce or even a legitimation case, one of the goals is to establish what areas you have the final decision-making authority over for your children. For example, if religious upbringing means a lot to you, but the mother does not care about religion, you may be able to negotiate with her in your case to be able to have final say on decisions regarding how the children are raised when it comes to religion. Don't hesitate to seek legal guidance if you have concerns or questions about your legal custody rights.
Right to Physical Custody (Visitation and Parenting Time)
As a father, it can be disheartening to feel like you have limited rights to your children's custody in the event of a separation or divorce - or if you've never been married to the child's mother and she blocks you from seeing the child. However, in Georgia, fathers can and do obtain primary physical custody of their children if it is determined to be in the best interest of the child, in divorces and in some legitimations. Physical custody encompasses not only where the child lives most of the time, but also the arrangement for parenting time and visitation between the primary and secondary physical custodians. Even if you do not get awarded primary physical custody, it's important to recognize the significance of being involved in your children's lives as the secondary physical custodian. We often work with fathers who, by nature of their job or where the mother has relocated to, cannot become primary physical custodians, but are concerned that the mother will not grant them their liberal and rightful parenting time (sometimes called visitation) with their children. In those cases, we advocate for the most time possible that works with the father's schedule, as this is in the best interest of the children involved - to have their father active in their lives, even after their parents are separated. There is always hope, and always a way to keep the relationship healthy and thriving with a father and his children.
There's also hope for fathers with an out-of-state custody order.
How We Can Help
As a father, establishing your rights during a divorce or legitimation case can be a challenging process. At Your Law Firm, we are dedicated to supporting you every step of the way. Our team understands the complexities of custody cases - both on a technical and emotional level - and will work hard to ensure your rights as a father are protected. With our expertise in counties in the North Metro Atlanta area, we can guide you through each step of the legal process and provide you with the guidance and support you need to fight for your father's rights. Trust Your Law Firm to help you establish and protect your rights as a father.