Recently, America has seen a new trend in the way young couples are building their families. More frequently than ever before, couples are actively choosing to have babies before they tie the knot. Celebrities sensationalize this new way of creating a family unit as a superior idea, but in times of such high divorce rates, before you choose to go to the labor and delivery room without having walked down the aisle, make sure you are aware of the risks for your family and future child. The Georgia family law attorneys at Vayman and Teitelbaum will help you understand the way your choices could affect both of you, as a parents, as well as your future child, and the facts that you should take into consideration before making this important decision.
What Does Georgia Law Say About Custody and Unmarried Parents?
Under Georgia law, the general rule for unmarried parents is that the mother of the child will be granted primary custody of the baby immediately at birth. An unmarried father must establish a paternal relationship to have any paternal rights and/or obligations, even if the mother and father have been living together and in a relationship for a long period of time.
Paternal relationships can be established in a variety of ways, and does not need to be completed at the time of birth. In the event the child is already born, and there is a question pertaining to the paternity of the child, the courts will typically handle the case utilizing genetic testing. Upon specific request, the department of Child Services can enter paternity based on interviews that they conduct. Such interviews may be face-to-face or over the phone. Most simply, both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and share it with the courts. This form should be signed shortly after the birth, if not immediately following it.
Considering the Risks for Everyone
At this time of your life when you are making plans to build and grow your family, the worst case scenarios are not pleasant to think about or discuss, but they are important. There are risks for each partner, and there are also potential risks for your future child. For example, paternity is not established legally, the child has no right to any of his estate in the event the father passes. However, this does not mean that you should get married just because you want a child, which is another topic in itself.
We Can Answer Your Questions
At Vayman and Teitelbaum in Georgia, we understand the sensitivities and unknowns in having your first child. Our Georgia family law attorneys strive to ensure that you, your partner, and your future child are protected and comfortable with your rights and obligations granted to you under Georgia law. If both you and your partner are considering having a child before marriage, and you have legal questions, please contact us today. Our attorneys can help explain your risks and opportunities as you navigate this new chapter of your life.