Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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The importance of establishing paternity

Sharing a child with someone to whom you are not married can be an overwhelming challenge. There can be contentious fights and battles over parenting time and how to raise a child. Even when parents get along with each other, there can be feelings of uneasiness and an underlying fear that it won't take much to rock the boat.

Because of all that can happen when two unmarried people share a child, it can be crucial that both parents know and protect their parental rights. Failure to do this could have devastating consequences. For instance, a man who is never legally named as a child's father could learn that his child can be adopted without his permission.

This is the unfortunate situation one man in another state is facing after his daughter was adopted by her maternal great-grandparents. The man and his daughter's mother were together for seven years when they had their child, but they never got married. Because of this, the child had no presumed father. 

Without a paternity test to confirm his biological relationship, the man had no legal rights to be notified of or stop the girl's adoption by the mother's grandparents. He has taken legal action to try and have the adoption deemed illegal so that the girl will be returned to the mother and the man can take steps to seek custody.

This should serve as a strong reminder to Georgia parents of how crucial it is to understand your legal options as a parent, especially when you are not married to the other parent. Thinking that an informal arrangement will suffice can prove to be a costly, devastating mistake. Rather than face these same challenges, you can discuss your options and what you need to do to protect your parental rights with an experienced attorney.

Source: KCTV, "Independence father denied custody after loophole adoption," Chris Oberholtz, Amanda Palumbo and Angie Ricono, Jan. 28, 2016

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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