My child’s mother left the state and left my child with her mother (the child’s grandmother). I am not allowed visitation. What can I do?
In this situation, the father should immediately file for Legitimation in the county of the residence of the child, and get an initial determination of custodial rights and parenting times. In Georgia, a father who is not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth has no rights to the child unless and until he legitimates the child. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-25. This includes custody, visitation, and the right to make any decisions concerning the child.
When the legitimation case is resolved (whether by settlement or a trial), assuming the legitimation is granted, there will be a Parenting Plan that sets forth each party’s respective parenting times with the child. It will also set forth how major decisions about the child will be made. Until there is a Court Order, however, there is not much that can be done to force the situation. With a Court Order, however, I have seen the police enforce Parenting Plans, which could help with the situation described herein.
By Patrick L. Meriwether, Partner, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC