One of the most common questions that we are asked by clients is what rights parents have in the state of Georgia. The answer is that a parent’s exact rights depend on several factors including the sex of the parent. It is critical for all parents to in Georgia understand some important details about their rights.

Asserting Your Rights as a Father

There is a common misbelief that the presence of a father’s name on a child’s birth certificate is enough to make sure that he has the power to make visitation and care-based decisions for a child. This is, however, often not the case. Placing your name on a child’s birth certificate only helps to establish paternity, which can in turn be used to secure child support payments. Signing a birth certificate, however, does not grant a father any parental rights.

In accordance with the laws of Georgia, there are only four ways in which a father can legitimate a child. A father must have legally been married to the mother at the time that she gave birth to the child, legally married the mother after birth and recognize the child as his own, legally adopt a child, or file a legitimization action in court. To determine if a parent is the legitimate father, a court will consider whether granting legitimization is in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors that Georgia courts consider in determining the best interest of a child include each parent’s home environment, each parent’s emotional connection to the child, the mental and physical health of each parent, the relationship that a child has with any sibling, the stability of each parent, the substance abuse history of each parent, the history of physical or sexual abuse or neglect of each parent, and each parent’s criminal history. The best interest of a child is not based on one factor, but instead a judge will make a decision based on a number of circumstances.

Mothers’ Rights in Georgia

For many years, it was common for women to remain at home and raise children. In cases of divorce, there is a history of fathers paying alimony to mothers. In today’s environment, however, it is often difficult for mothers to obtain alimony awards from fathers. Today, obtaining child support or alimony can be a complicated negotiation. Mothers who are more successful in their careers are at risk of having the time spent away from the family interpreted as lack of care for the children, which can lead to a father being awarded custodial rights.

Speak with a Seasoned Family Law Attorney

Navigating today’s social norms during divorce can prove to be particularly difficult. If you are a parent who needs assistance with the many questions that can arise in a family law case, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today to schedule an initial case evaluation.