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How can a father get custody in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Child Custody

Becoming a father means making a lifelong commitment to a child. A commitment to a child does not necessarily translate to a permanent relationship with the child’s mother. Some men find themselves facing messy breakups or divorces in Georgia.

These men often worry that the end of a relationship could have a negative impact on their parenting rights. Fathers who want to be present in the lives of their children generally need to know the rules about custody. How can a father in Georgia secure custody?

Requesting parenting time during a divorce

Often, the reason that custody matters become a concern is that parents decide to divorce. Married fathers in Georgia typically already have their names on the birth certificates of their children.

They have a relatively straightforward process ahead for pursuing shared custody. Divorcing parents can either set terms with one another that they agree are appropriate or they can litigate when they disagree on the key details of their arrangements.

Custody laws in Georgia are sex-neutral, which means that judges should give both fathers and mothers time with their children. The courts also divide legal custody or decision-making authority between parents in a divorce.

Establishing paternity

If a father is not married to the mother of his children, there may be an extra step required before he can ask for parenting time and decision-making authority. Unmarried fathers may need to establish paternity with the state if they have not already done so.

Some unmarried couples established paternity at the hospital after the birth of a child. Other times, it is necessary to fill out paperwork with the mother or take the matter to court to arrange for paternity testing. Unmarried fathers need to officially establish their relationship with the child before they can ask for custody.

Generally, there is an assumption that keeping fathers actively involved in the lives of children is beneficial for those children. Those seeking sole custody generally need proof that shared custody arrangements could endanger the children.

Men who seek custody rights often prevail in court and can secure time with their children in addition to decision-making authority. Learning more about Georgia’s approach to paternity and custody, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, may benefit men who are worried about being present for their children.