Parenting isn't as simple for unmarried parents as it is for married couples. That's because child custody alone may be a matter fraught with complications. The problems regarding visitation and child support increase tenfold when you take marriage out of the equation.
As an unmarried parent, you should know that the custody of your child will naturally be awarded to the mother unless you file a legitimation action. You can also seek primary physical custody if the circumstances allow for it. But the most important thing for both parents to remember is that they should have their child's best interests at heart before they can seek legal help.
Here's what you need to know to get a better idea about the parenting rights of unmarried parents.
In Georgia, child support works the same way for unmarried parents as it does for previously married couples. The court will assess the situation, calculate the amount, and then order the non-custodial parent to provide a fixed sum of money every month until the child turns 18 years old and graduates high school. In case of non-compliance, legal action can be taken against them.
If you're responsible for child support and you run into financial problems down the line, you should seek re-evaluation to reach a more practical agreement that is fair to both you and the other parent.
Mother's Rights vs. Father's Rights
The law makes it hard for unmarried parents who wish to raise a child together to avoid running into legal problems.
Under Georgia Law, the mother of the child is always granted custody of the child unless the biological father files a legitimation action. When she has the sole right to custody, she has full authority to make all kinds of decisions regarding the child's health and wellbeing.
When she has legal and physical custody, she can make decisions about the following:
- Home residence
- Extracurricular activities
The father needs to take additional steps to establish legitimation. Most parents do this by filling a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form when their child is born. However, that does not give the father any custodial rights, but may still obligate him to child support.
Even after his paternity has been confirmed and the court has ordered him to pay child support, he still doesn't gain visitation rights. He needs to file a legitimation action in court to request for visitation rights and the custodial rights to his child.
As specialists in family law in Atlanta, we're here to help take care of all your legal problems and provide our full support to you. Any situation that involves a child is incredibly sensitive, which is why we have made it our mission to help parents protect their rights to their children and keep your child's wellbeing as our topmost priority.
If you're in need of help with a legitimation action, contact us now at (404) 963-9452 to schedule an appointment to discuss how we may help you with your case.