This article will help you understand:
- The difference between a biological parent and a legal parent.
- How you can become a legal parent if you are not already.
- What can happen if you are not a legal parent of your biological child.
If A Biological Father Establishes Paternity, Does That Mean He Has Automatic Custodial Rights?
A biological father establishing paternity does not mean he has automatic custodial rights in the State of Georgia.
If you are declared the father in a child support case in Georgia but are not married to the mother, you are not the legal father. The only exception is if you married the mother, declared the child your child, and openly treated the child like your child.
If you did not marry the mother, then the child is considered legally illegitimate. You have to legitimize the child in order to have any legal rights. If the father does legitimate the child or files to, it is not guaranteed that he will be able to legitimate the child.
In most cases, if he’s the biological father, he can also legitimize the child, but the mother can argue it. For example, if the father has a record of molesting children, the mother can argue that it is not in the child’s best interests for the father to legitimize the child. The judge could agree and make determinations accordingly.
There was a case several years ago where a mother put her child up for adoption to a couple in New York and the father did not consent. He fought to legitimize this child so that he had legal grounds to refuse consent and get custody of the child.
The judge ruled it was not in the best interest to legitimate that child because the father did not have a job and had a major medical problem. The adoptive parents could offer the child a financially secure two-parent home without any health concerns.
For more information on Family Law in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (706) 280-7152 today.