Alpharetta Fathers’ Rights Lawyer

Divorce: Understanding Fathers' Rights in GeorgiaIn the state of Georgia, 114.11 people for every 1,000 married individuals get divorced. As marriages teeter on the brink of disaster, you must equip yourself to fight for visitation and full custody of your children. 

Under Georgia law, biological fathers are not automatically given parental rights. Because of this restriction unmarried couples, often choose to marry. This is an easier solution to determine custody concerns.

However, in the event of a divorce what happens to the child? Does the father get any rights? Keep reading to learn more about how to determine the best interest of the child and how a father can seek legal custody during a divorce. 

Hobson & Hobson, P.C is comprised of highly trained parental rights attorneys in Alpharetta that rely on our special litigation training and over 30 years of combined experience in paternity rights cases to provide each client with an effective outcome while fighting for your parental rights. Contact us at 770-284-6153 or submit a contact form for us to contact you ASAP.

How to Obtain Parental Rights

Father’s rights in the state of Georgia are different for unmarried parents compared to married partners. In this state, unmarried fathers are not automatically granted legal rights to their children. 

In contrast, biological mothers are automatically endowed with their parental rights. This is regardless of if they are fit to care for the child. If an unmarried couple splits, the mother would be granted full legal custody. 

The state factors in extraneous conditions when determining whether or not to grant the father parental rights. If the father has waited too long to establish custody the court may make it more difficult to obtain legal rights. 

Legal Paternity Through Legitimation

This limitation even applies if the father is listed and signed the birth certificate. Fathers must work to obtain their legal rights through legitimation. Legitimation establishes the father as the legal parent of the child, even if they are not the biological one. 

If the mother consents to legitimation, the two parents can present a binding document to the court for approval. If this process is supported by both parents the legitimation process should only take a matter of days. However, if you are seeking legitimation during the time of divorce this may be a more complex process. 

Alternatively, if the mother does not consent to the legitimation of a child the parents and child must submit to DNA testing. When a father files for this the court will typically grant visitation and mandate child support. 

Biological Paternity

In the state of Georgia, a delineation is made between biological paternity and legal paternity. To determine who is a child’s biological father, the individual must present a valid paternity test. This is a requirement because the state does not require biological paternity to sign a child’s birth certificate. 

Determine the Best Interest of the Child

The court system is charged with making major decisions that affect the lives of children. The state of Georgia’s laws presents a clear bias toward the mother. However, the court is still charged with determining the best interests of the child. 

During court proceedings, family court experts will make choices that affect the custody agreement. They will choose the future placement, financial support, and custody of children.

The court is supposed to intake the evidence and make an informed decision on what custody agreement will best support the child. For this reason, it’s critical for you to contact an experienced Alpharetta fathers’ rights lawyer to assist you.

This determination is typically reached by conducting a series of interviews and fact-finding missions to each parent’s home. This research will help give the court a robust understanding of the children and parents’ circumstances and capability to parent. 

Types of Child Custody Agreements

During child custody hearings the parents will work to define visitation rights and custody. The two primary types of custody are partial and full custody. In Georgia, full custody is most common when fatherhood is not finalized before the court. 

Routine Visitation

Routine visitation encompasses overnight or day-time visitations. These visits are typically outlined by a regular visitation schedule that is approved by the court. Children typically benefit from the predictability of these schedules. 

Visitation rights are not given to fathers during a divorce. If they have not claimed their legal rights through legitimation, a mother could legally choose to withhold visitation. 

Joint or Partial Legal Custody

In a joint custody agreement, both parents assume responsibility for the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of the child. Parents share either legal or physical custody. 

In these custody breakdowns, one parent gets partial custody and the other gets primary. The parent awarded partial custody has less of a say in how the child is raised. 

Full Custody

Full custody applies to a breakdown where a singular parent is given sole legal custody. Legal custody gives the parent authority to unilaterally make decisions. These decisions can be about a child’s education, health, and welfare.

If a parent is awarded physical custody it means that the child is going to remain in that parent’s physical care. In these circumstances the parent awarded full custody can help determine if the second parent gets visitation. 

Without legitimation from the father, an unmarried mother will always receive sole custody. In these cases, the mother can move away and entirely deny the father access to the child. Married parents don’t have this black-and-white distinction, however, often have to go through a messy custody battle. 

Understand Father’s Rights During a Divorce

For fathers, achieving legal custody is more difficult. Even during a messy divorce proceeding, the court’s goal will always be to determine the best interest of the child. The final resolution may be full custody or a mix of visitation rights and joint custody. 

Interested in securing your parental rights? Contact us to learn more about how to obtain custody during a divorce.