Atlanta Legal Issues Blog

How to establish paternity as an unmarried father in Georgia

Having a child is one of the most incredible experiences you can have. For most people, a child is a source of joy and motivation in early and middle life, as well as a source of support and care in the later stages of life. Becoming a father can transform you and make you a better person. However, if you aren't married to the mother of your child, things can quickly become complicated.

There are many reasons why unmarried fathers struggle to establish paternity. Perhaps the mother of your child is already married to someone else, so the hospital assumed the husband was the father. Maybe you split with the mother early on, and she has since denied you access to her and the child after its birth. Whatever the reason for your difficulty, you can take steps to establish yourself as the father of the child.

Man pleads guilty to $500k child support bill

A man indicted for failure to pay support for his children since 1998 has pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court. He was arrested in Canada living under an assumed name and extradited back to the U.S. In Georgia and elsewhere, child support is to be paid by non-custodial parents for the support of their minor children.

The man was required to pay $100 per month to his former wife when they divorced in 1989 for the support of his four children. In 1996, the U.S. Office of Inspector General stated that he sold his internet business for 2 million dollars. His child support was modified to reflect that unreported income. The amount of child support owed to his former wife was $559,000 as of 2014 when the case was unsealed.

Maintaining safety in school during child custody disputes

There are many misconceptions made by school authorities regarding noncustodial parents, but the most common is the assumption that parents communicate with each other. There are two types of child custody, physical and legal. A parent with physical custody has physical custody of the child the majority of the time. In Georgia and elsewhere, parents with legal custody have the authority to make decisions regarding a child's education. The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act typically allows both parents access to school records, while most states have their own laws regarding this issue as well.

School officials recommend providing legal documents that map out child custody to their school at the beginning of each academic year. Announcements at open houses and newsletters are ways to remind parents the importance of filing legal documents with their child's school. A noncustodial parent cannot be denied access without specific court order. It is the parent's responsibility to file court documents with the school system since the court is not required to release the information.

Relinquishing financial duties may complicate gray divorce

For generations, women have declared their equality to men, insisting their husbands share household chores and child-rearing duties. Women in Georgia are a strong force in the workplace, and men have learned to relish stay-at-home responsibilities. The roles of men and women within opposite sex marriages have equalized in many areas, but one glaring weakness may leave older women vulnerable in the event of a divorce.

A recent report revealed that more than half of married women are hands-off when it comes to the family financing. They leave the management of the money to their husbands. About 61 percent also allow their husbands free range to make investment decisions. When couples with this financial arrangement divorce, the women often find they know very little about how to budget, how to invest or how to protect themselves financially.

Opioid addiction leaves child custody in limbo

While the current presidential administration is espousing a get-tough approach targeting drug dealers, doctors and pharmacists, critics say it is not helping those who are suffering from addiction. Recent surveys revealed that Americans believe more focus should be on treatment for the addict instead of prosecution. When parents are in and out of treatment facilities, their children are often left in limbo. In Georgia and other states, more substance abusing parents are having their child custody rights severed.

Thousands of parents with drug addiction problems are being scrutinized about whether they are fit to care for their children. It is up to the courts, assisted by child welfare workers, to determine whether children should be removed from the home or placed with a foster family. The increase in the number of children taken from parents and placed in state custody in recent years is staggering.

Dads: Custody rights are shared in 2018

Dads often worry about losing their children in divorce, but in 2018, it's not as much of a risk as it once was. Mothers and fathers share many of the responsibilities at home, and that includes child rearing. It's no longer the case that the man goes to work while his wife stays at home to watch the children. Times have changed, and that gives you a better chance of obtaining a fair share of custody.

It's common for parents to share custody in today's world. Mothers and fathers have equal legal standing in all cases, which means you have as much of a right to custody as the mother of your children.

Child custody given to grandparents as drug addictions rage on

Grandparents have been gearing up for another round of child rearing as the opioid epidemic rages on across the country. At a time when many may be planning on winding down and preparing for retirement bliss, a large number of grandparents find themselves in the middle of child custody cases. In Georgia and in other states, studies show that children adjust better under the care of grandparents than in foster homes.

About 2.7 million grandparents across the country are assuming the role of caregiver because their children are battling opioid addiction. They are trading in their retirement plans for PTA meetings, carpools and diaper changes. The abrupt change in lifestyle and taking on the responsibility of caring for young children is a rude awakening for some grandparents. Financial and emotional challenges can be devastating and overwhelming for them as well, especially those with disabilities.

Filing joint taxes may be the best option during a divorce

Even though a martial break up is forthcoming in the near future, couples who are still legally married may continue to file joint tax returns. There are several factors to consider whether this is the best option for those who are soon to be divorced. In Georgia and other states, couples in the process of a divorce but who are still married at the end of the year may file together.

Filing tax returns separately or individually can mean losing out on substantial deductions and tax credits reserved for married or joint filers. Single filers may not be eligible for credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Those who file separate returns could face higher tax rates and will face cuts to the Alternative Minimum Tax than those who file joint returns.

Fathers' rights group offers support in custody battles

Parents involved in tedious and difficult custody battles rarely have the support they need to see them through the legal process. Fathers in Georgia are making it their mission to see that others are educated about their parental rights. Fighting for Fathers, a fathers' rights group founded in 2010, focuses on paternal rights, custody agreement preparations and paternal reform to help fathers become more prepared to fight for the custody of their children.

The group stresses the importance of having support to navigate the legal system along with emotional backing throughout the often long and drawn-out process. FFF also focuses on mentoring fathers who are not only trying to obtain custody of their children but are working to become better parents. The organization uses social media to connect with other fathers in order to share experiences and offer support.

Airline miles are considered marital assets in property division

Even though divorce rates have declined, 40 to 50 percent of couples wind up in divorce court. A staggering 73 percent of Americans believe that divorce is acceptable. Divorce signifies the separation of a household and the end of a union, but it also means the separation of assets and property division. In Georgia and other states, airline miles may be marital assets during a divorce.

Marriages that are headed for divorce may have to split airline miles along with other marital assets. If a couple earned miles or reward points during their marriage, then those rewards may be considered marital property. Distribution of miles in a community property state would be split evenly, but in an equitable distribution state, the courts would decide what a fair division would be.

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