Parents' Rights

Parents’ Rights

Mothers rights to custody and the standard by which custody determinations are made in the family courts has changed significantly over the last century. In the early 1900’s, fathers were typically given custody of the children in the case of a divorce. In contested child custody cases today, in which the mother earns less than the father, it does not automatically entitle the father to custody of the child in the event of a divorce.

Following the standards in the early 1900’s which typically gave fathers custody of the children, states shifted to the tender years doctrine which presumed the mothers to be the primary caregiver. This standard changed yet again. Following the 1970’s the tender years doctrine was replaced with the overall best interests of the child standard. The overall best interest of the child standard takes several factors into consideration and is supposed to guide the family courts in child custody determinations. Nevertheless, some family courts in the 20th century continue to favor the mother as the primary caregiver.

Mothers often provide primary care for their children and are often involved in the day to day responsibilities of raising and nurturing their children. While some mothers may be at a disadvantage financially at the beginning of their divorce, more mothers are becoming educated with strategies and information on how to enhance their custody case and how other mothers are obtaining custody of their children.

Mothers and fathers both have a prominent role to play in supporting the growth and development of their children. But when parents divorce and child custody is contested, the family courts are faced with the difficult task of determining where the child will live and what parenting arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Upon divorce, the best parent is generally having both parents involved. More and more, the courts are adopting this mentality and favoring frequent and continuing contact with both parents as the best arrangement for the child. Additionally, more and more mothers are taking on the same attitude for the benefit of their children and are benefiting from the shared parenting responsibilities as a result.”

Read more from the 2008 Child Custody Coach.

Fathers’ Rights

For various reasons, including old-fashioned conventional beliefs, fathers are often seen as unwilling or incapable of caring for their children. However, most fathers can provide their children with the same care, affection and parental guidance that a mother can. In fact, there is no presumption in Georgia law that a mother is automatically entitled to custody. Courts can and do award custody to fathers, based on the principle of what is in “the best interest of the child.” We represent fathers who are seeking and who deserve more than the traditional parenting time schedule.

We do not believe that custody of the children is right for every father; however, every father should have an equal right to custody. If you have an overloaded schedule, work 12 hours a day and travel several weeks out of the month, then custody may not be for you, unless the mother is being derelict in her duties.

However, if you have kept an active role in parenting the children, caring for their needs, attending medical appointments, attending school functions and PTA meetings, then the Courts will look at the history and may determine that joint or even full custody should be awarded to you.

Fathers’ Rights and Georgia Law

For a father to obtain custody it is not necessary to prove that the mother is an unfit parent. What is needed is some evidence that living with the father would better serve the children’s interests. Unfortunately, while going through a divorce, a father’s loving relationship with his children can be jeopardized. The father who has seen his children every day and has participated equally in their upbringing may now see them every other weekend. You may feel obligated to give in to the mother’s demands in exchange for more time with your children. Many times, fathers end up being victimized by unreasonably high child support payments and limited visitation with their children.

Nevertheless, you can take action to protect your rights. If you feel that you would be the better custodial parent, and you have evidence and witnesses to support your case, we can help you.

Child Support, Move-aways and Paternity

If you have been ordered to pay child support, and if conditions change significantly, you can seek a modification of the amount. If income or custody arrangements have changed, we can seek a change in your child support payment.

If the mother wishes to move away with your children, you can ask the court for custody of the children to minimize the disruption in their lives. In some counties, as soon as the mother is served, an order issues that automatically prevents the children from leaving the state. In other counties, you may request an emergency hearing to prevent the move until a final determination of custody. Our lawyers understand how various courts in Georgia view such matters and can take action on your behalf.

If you are not married to the mother, we can file an action to establish paternity and obtain custody or visitation rights.

Divorce Attorney: How to Select a Divorce Attorney
Divorce Attorney: The Divorce Process
Asset & Debt Division
Parents’ Rights
Asset & Debt Division
Divorce Attorney
Contact Us


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *