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Mother dies in emergency delivery, custody battle brewing

A hit-and-run accident left a pregnant woman in the hospital just a week away from her estimated delivery date. She had been walking to work and was approximately 200 yards away when she was hit by a dark car. Although police continue to look for the driver, it is known that he or she never braked before the accident and never stopped to help the woman. Luckily, she was found by a doctor and taken to the hospital and put under observation. Despite showing signs of improvement, she unexpectedly died, but doctors were able to save her baby. Now, the father of the baby wants to exercise his paternal rights and has petitioned for custody of the child.

What would happen if an unwed Georgia mother died while giving birth to a child? Who would take the child? Many in Marietta would say that if the father was interested in raising his son or daughter, he should be given custody of the child. It is likely that the father would need to submit to paternity testing and file with a Georgia family law court for custody of his child, but with the help of a family law attorney, it would be possible for him to raise his child.

In this story, however, the father of the newborn girl has not been allowed to see his daughter. The father and mother were not married, but they had talked about a wedding in the months before the mother died. Instead, the hospital gave the infant to her aunt, who is acting as a potential guardian to her niece.

Soon after the 21-year-old father found out about his former girlfriend's death and the birth of his daughter, he filed a court petition so he could gain custody. Currently, the baby's future remains unclear.

A paternity test will likely be performed to verify that the 21-year-old man actually is the father. According to him, he and the mother had only separated a few weeks before her death. He had moved into his mother's home so they could spend some time apart and work things out. The father says that the two were still seeing each other two or three times a week, despite not living with one another any longer.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Dad fights for baby's custody after mom dies in hit-and-run," Cindy Horswell, Nov. 5, 2011

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law
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Marietta, GA 30060

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