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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37929
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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We live in GA. My daughter is 38 and has had a child out of

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We live in GA. My daughter is 38 and has had a child out of wedlock. The baby is 2 now and she has her father's name and his name is XXXXX XXXXX birth certificate. She and the father were never married but have lived together. They are splitting up. What kind of visitation rights would a court give the father since they were never married and the majority of family income and financial support of the child has been provided by my daughter.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Could you tell me a bit more about each of the parties involved? Do both want some sort of contact or rights to the child? Who currently supports the child? Do either have any sort of history of abuse, neglect, drug/alcohol use, mental illness, criminal record/history/parole/probation, or domestic violence?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My daughter wants full custody. The father will want visitation rights and since the baby is just 2, my daughter wants the father's visitation to be limited to not more than 2 times per week or less. My daughter has been the primary wage earner for the last 3 years supporting the father most of the time until 6 months ago when he found gainful employment. My daughter primarly supports the baby and the 3 of them live in the home my daughter purchased last year. The baby is on my daughter's insurance. The father suffers from depession but refuses to take medication and also has a 3 year old son to his previous wife. Neither have a history of abuse, neglect, drug/alcohol use, mental illness other than the father being depressed, no criminal history or domestic violence history.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

Just a quick question. You have told me what your daughter wants. Do you know what the father wants in this situation in terms of custody or visitation?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He will want visitation rights. I don't know how much he will want to see the baby but he currently sees his 3-year old son 2 evenings during the week (4 hours each time) and 1 day on the weekend (approximately 5 hours) and that is not a court-ordered schedule but just something he worked out with his x-wife. The father will probably just move in with one of his guy friends and that will not constitute a safe environment for a 2 year old (she only turned 2 yesterday) and he probably won't be able to afford a place of his own for quite a while.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

The reason I ask is of course if both agree to visitation between one another, and then reduce it to paper, the courts will likely agree to it simply because they prefer to allow the parents to come to an equitable and an amicable decision themselves. The courts also favor parents who are both active in the child's life, which means that unless the father actually consents to less time with the child, the courts will likely uphold the current visitation schedule instead. The reason is because at least currently both appear to be equally "fit" as parents and there is no danger to the child (no history of factors I asked about). If there was, the courts would be more likely to lower that party's parental rights and time with the child. It is possible that the courts may agree to cut down his weekend time to a possible overnight but once a month, but if you are claiming that he has no suitable place to raise (or even bring a child to), such a defense can be raised in court as a means of requesting that the overnight not be granted.

Also please let your daughter know that the more percentage of custody she has, the greater percentage of support he would have to provide. It is in her best interest to pursue greater custody, but to do so she would have to attempt to attack his fitness in court on grounds that spending time with him would not be "in the best interest of the child", the standard the courts look to when granting custodial rights.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My daughter was told by a friend going through a similar situation that in the state of GA a man has no parental rights - even if the child has his name and he is on the birth certificate - IF in fact the father was never legally married to the mother and then full custody is automatically given to the mother who then has the right to establish the visitation schedule without court involvement. Have you ever heard of any such state laws in GA?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

Your daughter's friend is ABSOLUTELY wrong. If the father is listed on the birth certificate, he has absolutely co-equal rights with the mother. There is, legally, no difference in rights between the parents although in courts women are historically favored over the men. Full custody is NOT automatically granted--it has to filed for, and the courts still have to make a viable determination as to who is the more fit parent. Case in point, if a mother who is a known crack head, prostitute, and a holder of multiple DUI citations goes to court against a father who has a full-time job and a home, no judge will grant the former rights if the father shows her history to the judge. Each case is reviewed on a case by case basis, without any sort of a global rule where it states that fathers have no rights.

Good luck.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37929
Experience: I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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