If you’re an unmarried parent in Georgia, getting visitation or custody rights can be challenging, particularly if you’re an unwed father. Many fathers are surprised to learn that establishing paternity doesn’t automatically grant them visitation rights. Here’s what you need to know about establishing your rights so that you can fight for child custody or visitation.
How can unwed parents fight for their legal rights?
If you’re an unwed mother in the state of Georgia, you’re automatically granted full custody of your child. But if you’re an unwed father, the situation becomes a lot more complicated. You’ll have to take several steps before you have a legal claim over the child.
First off, you’ll have to prove paternity. If your name is already listed on the child’s birth certificate, you won’t have to do anything else. If not, you can take a genetic test to prove that you’re the child’s father. Keep in mind that you have to be biologically related to the child.
However, the battle doesn’t end there. You’ll also have to file for legitimation to gain legal rights. To do so, you can file a legitimation action in the mother’s county. If the court accepts this action, you will be ruled as the legitimate father of the child.
Now that you’ve established your parenthood, you can start fighting for your rights in court with the help of a family law attorney. You may be able to argue for full or joint custody as well as visitation rights.
How might an attorney help you establish parenthood?
An attorney may be able to help you establish your parenthood and start building a relationship with your child. Once you’ve established that you’re the child’s biological parent, your attorney may help you shoot for full or joint custody, whichever option is in the child’s best interests. If you’re not looking for custody, your attorney might help you argue for visitation rights that help you balance parenthood with your other responsibilities. Your attorney may also help settle other disputes like child support payments.