The “traditional” family — married parents and a couple of children — may not be as prevalent as it once was. There are many families in Atlanta with mothers, fathers, step-mothers, step-fathers, half-brothers and -sisters, step-brothers and -sisters, and so much more. Sometimes it is difficult for men to preserve their parental rights and the families they create have very specific legal complications.

One father is learning all about that after the biological mother of his 6-year-old son is fighting for custody. While this may seem like a regular occurrence to many people in Georgia, what makes this story interesting is that an appellate court recently forced a family court to recognize an out-of-state decision that says the man is not the child’s biological father. Although the father is listed as the 6-year-old’s father on his birth certificate, he not related to him by blood, adoption or marriage.

That has not stopped this father from raising this child since he was born. The father says that when the boy’s mother was pregnant she had agreed to give the baby to the father and his wife. Although she never formally relinquished her parental rights and allowed the couple to adopt the child, she said that she would list the man as the father on the boy’s birth certificate. The child’ mother denies agreeing to this.

Since the man first took his son home a few days after his birth, he has been the child’s primary caregiver. He and his wife have since separated, but he continues to raise the boy with the help of his family. Now, after six years with his father, the child may be forced back to his mother. The father also lost an important foothold in the custody battle after the court determined that he should not have been listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate.

This fathers’ rights custody battle is another example of how hard it can be for men to preserve their parental rights. Working with an experienced family law attorney, however, can make it easier to retain or gain custody of your child.

Source: Kingsport Times-News, “Custody fight over Maryville boy continues,” Sheila Burke, May 17, 2012