Establishing Paternity in Georgia: Here’s What You Need to Know
Establishing paternity in Georgia is an important family matter regarding the legal responsibility that comes with listing the father’s name on the birth certificate. To ensure the best life for your child and that he or she has a legal father established on public record, establishing paternity with a test is essential.
Legitimation Versus Paternity
In Georgia, there are different laws regarding legitimation and paternity. Paternity is the legal acknowledgment of a man being the biological father to a child. Legitimation is the legal relationship between a parent and child, which includes child custody and visitation rights for the father and inheritance rights for both the father and the child.
Since the biological father is the only person who is allowed to file for legitimation, establishing paternity first is necessary to file for legitimation. If a father wants to file for legitimation regarding custody and visitation rights with the child, he must do so in the county where the mother resides.
Three Methods for Establishing Paternity in Georgia
There are three ways to establish paternity in Georgia. Establishing paternity means that the father’s name will be on the child’s birth certificate and that he will be legally responsible for supporting the child. Whether you are a married or unmarried couple, paternity is necessary to establish the parents’ rights and obligations with respect to the child.
- Legal Marriage
If a man and woman are married when a child is conceived or when the child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father. There are no other necessary legal steps to take to establish paternity in this case. If a Husband is not the biological father of a child conceived or born during a marriage, then court action is required to eliminate the legal presumption that the Husband is the biological and legal father of the child.
- Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form
Unmarried couples may establish paternity by signing a Paternity Acknowledgement (PA) Form either at the hospital after the child is born or at the Office of Vital Records. A DNA test to prove paternity can be done, but the father, the child’s mother, and the child must all submit.
- Obtain a Court Order
Local, state, or federal courts can issue a court order to establish paternity. The courts can establish paternity to determine divorce procedures, establish visitation rights, or other judicial orders. The father, the child’s mother, and the child must submit to a paternity test if mandated by the court.
Challenging Paternity Establishments
If there is any doubt the child is not biologically yours, even if paternity has been established, it is in your best interest to challenge paternity before child support. The cost of a paternity test costs significantly less than the cost of child support for 18 years.
You may contest a PA form signature within 60 days of signing the form with proof that you are not the biological father of the child. This can be done through a paternity test (via DNA testing) or with any medical evidence of a vasectomy or infertility.
The Cost of a Paternity Test
Private costs for obtaining a paternity test establishing paternity in Georgia are the same for both married and unmarried couples. The cost can be as low as $22 as of 2020, but can be much higher if you intend to introduce the test results in court to either establish paternity or to challenge a paternity allegation. However, if the state is pursuing an unmarried man for child support and he is found not to be the biological father, the state will cover his paternity test costs.
For Legal Representation and Guidance, Contact Boudreaux Law Firm
If you require legal assistance to establish yourself as the father of your child or if you have any doubts that you are the father, it is best to discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney in Georgia.
To schedule a consultation, contact our family law attorneys at Boudreaux Law Firm today.