Protect Your Custody Rights with a Paternity Lawyer
Fighting for custody rights can be one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. Especially when you don’t live with your child’s other parent. Under state law, courts are not allowed to give precedence to mothers, but unfortunately, many cases seem to go in that direction. If you want to protect your custody rights, a paternity lawyer can help.
The Child Custody Process
In Georgia, child custody cases often begin with a petition to set up a custody arrangement. Your paternity lawyer can help you through this process. Then, the courts assign a “Guardian Ad Litem” to the child. This person does not take any custody of the child. They just ensure the child’s best interests are represented in the case.
Initially, the courts create a temporary custody order. This may reflect your current living arrangements or something new. Then, after hearing all the evidence in the case, the courts establish a formal custody arrangement. Whether you are getting a divorce or have never been married, you should work with a professional to ensure that you get the arrangement you want.
Factors That Affect Custody Arrangements
In Georgia, the courts take into account a number of different factors when determining custody. These elements include the following:
- The bond between the child and both parents
- Each parent’s ability to give the child love, affection, and guidance
- Each parent’s ability to provide financial support and basic care to the child — child support is also taken into consideration
- The home environment of each parent
- The parent’s involvement with the child
- How the parent’s past or current actions may affect their ability to care for the child
- Any other relevant factors
If you are in a situation where you believe the other parent is unfit, you need to work with a paternity lawyer who can help you seek full custody. However, as long as both parents are emotionally healthy and able to care for a child, the courts prefer that both parents support the child in having a relationship with the other parent. So that you can create a custody arrangement that has everyone’s best interests in mind, you should choose a lawyer who is skilled at negotiation.
Modifying Custody Arrangements with a Paternity Lawyer
You can modify custody arrangements, but typically, once the courts have established a permanent custody schedule, you need a significant change in circumstances to petition for a change. That may include getting a new job, experiencing a change in your financial situation, moving into a new house, or any other significant life changes. You can also request changes when the child turns 14. At that age, children can choose which parent they want to have custody.
Note, however, that if you simply want to change your visitation or parenting schedule, you don’t need a major life change to do that. But, you may want to work with a paternity lawyer to ensure everything goes smoothly.
You have a right to love, nurture, and care for your child. If you want to ensure that your rights are protected, you need a paternity lawyer. Ideally, you will have a divorce attorney in Atlanta with experience in divorce and custody rights. To learn more, contact us at Daniele Johnson & Associates today.
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