E. Noreen Banks-Ware
Father's Rights in
a Custody Action
According to a 2018 study by Custody X Change, fathers in Georgia are likely to receive about 23.5% of child custody time. Determining the parent who gets custody rights in a divorce can be a contentious battle. When seeking custody as a father in Georgia, having a clear understanding of the child custody laws that apply to your unique situation is crucial.
Attorney Noreen Banks-Ware is dedicated to offering comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy in the legal matters of divorce and child custody. As an experienced Georgia family law attorney, she will review your circumstances, help you understand your rights, and explore your legal options. Noreen Banks-Ware will fight to protect your rights and your family's best interests. E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC is proud to represent clients across Lithonia, McDonough, Covington, Conyers, and Decatur, Georgia.
Establishing Paternity in Georgia
Paternity refers to the legal process of establishing who a child's father is. Establishing paternity is an important factor to:
- Determine the child's biological father
- Determine the legal rights and obligations of the father to the child
- Determine child custody or parenting time
- Form a relationship with the child
- Make it possible for the father to participate in the child's life
- Allow the father to show care for his child
How is Paternity Established
Paternity can be established in Georgia either voluntarily or involuntarily.
- Voluntary Paternity (At Birth): Paternity may be established voluntarily when the child is born, with both parents agreeing that the individual is the child's biological father. They will sign the voluntary "acknowledgment of paternity" form, and file the form with Georgia’s Putative Father Registry.
- Involuntary Paternity (Legal Action): When paternity is disputed, it may become a court issue. In such situations, paternity may be established when the child, the mother, the alleged father, or a state official files a paternity action with the court. The court may request DNA testing to confirm paternity.
Father's Rights to Custody
According to Georgia Code Section 19-9-3 (a)(1), "In all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be no prima-facie right to the custody of the child in the father or mother. There shall be no presumption in favor of any particular form of custody, legal or physical, nor in favor of either parent."
This indicates that, when determining child custody, both the child's mother and father have equal rights under Georgia law. However, Georgia courts will only award custody while prioritizing the "best interest of the child." The following factors may be considered to determine the child's best interest (Georgia Code Section 19-9-3 (a)(3)):
- The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child
- The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between the child and his or her siblings, half-siblings, and stepsiblings
- The ability of each parent to show love, affection, and guidance to the child
- Each parent's knowledge and familiarity of the child and the child's needs
- Each parent's respective ability to care for and nurture the child
- Each parent's ability to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, day-to-day needs, and other necessary care
- The parents' ability to communicate with one another
- Each parent's home environment and how it affects the child's safety
- The stability of each parent's family unit
- Each parent's mental and physical health
- Each parent's involvement in the child's educational, social, and extracurricular activities
Father's Rights in Child Support
Once child custody has been awarded, the parent with primary custody (custodial parent) will be awarded child support payments from the non-custodial parent. The purpose of the child support payments is to make adequate provision for the expenses needed to raise and care for the child.
Child support payments may be used to pay for food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical expenses. If custody is awarded to the father, he has the right to collect child support payment from the non-custodial parent (the mother).
Child support may be estimated using calculators and worksheets provided by the Georgia Child Support Commission. Regardless of whether the custodial parent is the father or mother, the non-custodial parent may be asked to pay child support.
How an Attorney Can Help
Determining child custody and support in Georgia usually involves several complex procedures. As a child's father, you have the same right to custody and support payments, just like a child's mother. An experienced Georgia child custody attorney can help you understand the state laws and legal principles that apply to your situation.
Attorney Noreen Banks-Ware has devoted her career to offering comprehensive legal guidance and strong representation in paternity, child custody, and support-related matters. As your attorney, she can advise you on your rights regarding paternity and help you understand your legal options. Whether you are a father trying to establish custody or implement support, Noreen Banks-Ware will offer you the detailed counsel and advocacy you need.
Father’s Rights Attorney
Serving Lithonia, Georgia
Call today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with a knowledgeable Georgia family law attorney. Attorney Noreen Banks-Ware can protect your rights and offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy you need to establish paternity or seek child custody. E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC proudly serves individuals and families throughout Lithonia, McDonough, Covington, Conyers, and Decatur, Georgia.