Once a child is born in Georgia, it is important to ensure that paternity is established. When a child’s paternity is not legally established in order to legitimize the child, both parents are at risk of losing certain rights. Fathers who have children without establishing paternity will have no legal rights to parenting or visitation if their relationship with the mother dissolves. Mothers who wish to collect child support cannot do so until paternity is verified. Using one of the four methods for establishing paternity in Georgia helps parents protect their children and their parental rights.
Getting married is one of the easiest and still most common method of establishing the paternity of a child. Parents who are married at the time of the child’s birth automatically receive the protection that comes with having a legitimate child whose paternity is acknowledged. No further paperwork or information is needed if the parents of the child are married when their child is born. If a child support case is initiated following a divorce the family will not need to take a paternity test.
A parent is also able to establish the paternity of his or her children by receiving a court order. A judge may provide legal acknowledgment of paternity in the form of a divorce decree, separation agreement, or other type of order. These documents are all acceptable proof of paternity to establish legal responsibility towards the children. Receiving a court order declaring that a specific man is the father of a child gives the father rights to the child and makes him legally responsible for the child.
Residents of Georgia who need to establish paternity in order to start child support proceedings can contact the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) for assistance. DCSS requires mandatory paternity testing in all new cases that have not previously legally established paternity. The Administrative Court or the local Superior Court process the paternity establishment and if the alleged father is found to be the biological father, he will be responsible for reimbursing DCSS for the cost of paternity testing.
Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form
Parents who are not married are giving the option of signing a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Form in the hospital or at the Department of Vital Records in Atlanta or their county of residence. The Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form establishes who the biological father of the child is. The father then receives certain legal rights and protections.
Contact a Qualified Attorney
Parents who are seeking to establish paternity or obtain child support often find the process daunting. Instead of struggling alone contacting a qualified child support attorney who is experienced with divorce, child custody, and child support issues. The attorneys at the law offices of Vayman & Teitelbaum are familiar with the process of establishing child support and custody in the state of Georgia. With offices conveniently located in Alpharetta, Lawrenceville, Cummings, and Marietta, our law firm has helped many Georgia residents establish their parental rights. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique situation.