When parents are not married to each other at the time of a conception or a birth, a child of their union will not automatically have an established legal relationship with the father.
Any interested party may submit a petition to establish paternity of the father according to Georgia laws. Any of the following may bring the petition:
- The child
- The mother
- A relative caring for the child
- The Department of Human Services (Division of Child Support Services)
- The putative father (a man alleged to be the father)
When an unmarried father gives consent for his name to be entered on the birth certificate, this may serve as evidence of paternity and establish paternity. Fathers can also acknowledge their relationship with the child by filling a Paternity Acknowledgement Form, signed in the presence of a notary.
Establishment of a biological father’s relationship as the legal father of a child born out of wedlock is called legitimation in Georgia. This may be accomplished by the father and mother freely agreeing and consenting to this designation. A biological father may also file a petition on his own. The mother may contest this petition by alleging that he is not, in fact, the biological father or by asserting that he has lost interest in developing a relationship with the child.
Any interested party may request genetic testing of the mother, the alleged father and the child to confirm biological relationship of the child and the father.
Paternity And Legitimation Have Natural Consequences
Once a father’s identity and legitimation are established:
- His name can be on the birth certificate.
- He will have the right to petition for custody and visitation just as in the case of a legitimate child and divorcing parents.
- He can be ordered by the court to pay child support.
- If the child lives with him most of the time, he can petition for child support from the mother, if financial circumstances warrant it.
What Objectives Are You Pursuing By Seeking Legitimation Of Your Child? Share Your Concerns With Paternity Lawyer Carmel W. Sanders.
You may be an alleged father who agreed to establishment of paternity and now you have reason to believe you are not, in fact, the biological father. To disestablish paternity in a case like this, you must act quickly. You may be a biological father seeking full involvement in your child’s life. You may be a biological mother seeking to file a petition for paternity or seeking to contest an alleged father’s petition for legitimation.
Whatever your perspective and whatever your unique circumstances, bring your story and questions to the attention of Macon, Georgia, family law attorney Carmel W. Sanders for more information and advice appropriate to your family’s situation. Get the facts you are looking for about paternity and legitimation in Georgia as they pertain to your family.