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GEORGIA FATHERS WITHOUT RIGHTS

HOW GEORGIA LAW WORKS

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Up until July 1, 2005 unwed fathers who willingly acknowledged paternity still gained no rights to their child except the right to pay child support. A separate legal procedure called legitimization was required to even begin to gain any other rights regarding the child such as visitation, potential custody, etc.

In July the law was changed so that with the consent of the mother a father could legitimize his child when establishing paternity. Georgia was the very last state in the country to do this.

This new law does not give any rights to fathers who acknowledged or established paternity before July 1, 2005. It also gives the mother the right to reject the father's having any rights to the child even while she collects child support from him.

This is not our interpretation of the law it is the official position of the state of Georgia.

Click here to go to the state if Georgia site about this

Let's look at how this works in a real life situation. The names are changed to protect privacy of a minor child but the situation is real. This is a real father who is very concerned for his son. John and Mary were living together and Mary became pregnant. They discussed abortion and both agreed they wanted this child. John supported Mary during the pregnancy and they continued to live together. Both his family and hers contributed to the support of this family unit. They held themselves out publicly as a family but did not marry. John was in the delivery room when his son was born. He was the first to hold him. Mary had some postpartum emotional challenges so much of the care of the new baby fell to John and to his mom. At the hospital John asked to sign paternity papers and Mary for some reason stalled him. She later said he was not present at the birth however there are many witnesses that he was.

His son's birth was a major life changing experience for John. Before the baby was born he had worked but irregularly after his baby was born he worked regularly and took pains to be sure the child had everything he needed. Several times he came home from work to find Mary missing and people he did not know caring for his son. More than once he came home to find Mary with other men. Finally he left but made almost daily attempts to remain in contact with his son.

Because of the other men in Mary's life John requested a paternity test which established that he is the father. He voluntarily supported the child both before and after these tests and regularly asked to see him. Mary refused. John has a stable home with his parents and can offer the child a safe place compared with Mary's life style fo drugs and gang associates. But the state of Georgia says he has no right to see his son, no right to know if the baby is well, being fed and cared for, or even still alive. This last is a matter of some question as Mary has been seen in the area frequently and the child has never been with her. She may have given away the baby. John wants to know and to be a part of his son's life however local and state authorities have literally laughed in his face and literally told him that if the mother wants to use child support payments to buy cocaine that is none of the father's business. He is to pay and stay out of the child's life.

John is now involved in yet another expensive legal process to try to determine his son's welfare and whereabouts and be allowed to be a part of his life.

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George is another father without rights. Technically a stepfather but the only father two of his daughters have ever known. He and their mother married and he was the sole support of these children from infancy to middle school. At some point mom decided she was not happy and asked him to leave. Because he has been their main support he was required to pay child support which he did willingly. When one of the girls called him fearful of something in her home situation he contacted DGFACS who found that what the child said was true. Nevertheless he was accused of interference in child custody, and served time in jail. he has been told by courts in the state of Georgia that to even accept a phone call from his girls who are now teenagers can send him back to jail. Yet he is still required to support them.

The supporters of Georgia Fathers Without Rights are not promoting or condoning couples living together without marriage or conceiving a child outside of wedlock, however in fiscal year 2004 53,000 births were reported to unwed parents in Georgia.  These children need to know their daddies whenever possible and the fathers of these children should be encouraged not discouraged to be a part of their child's life.  

 

WE ARE NOT DEADBEAT DADS WE ARE DADS WHO LOVE OUR CHILDREN AND WANT TO BE PART OF THEIR LIVES AND HAVE BEEN DEENIED THE RIGHT TO DO THAT BY THE GEORGIA LAWS.