Custody and support issues play a large role in divorces or separations involving children.  Parents may spend years trying to come to terms that both parties can agree on, often spending thousands of dollars in legal fees. After finally securing custody rights and agreeing to financially support a child, finding out that the child is not biologically yours is often devastating. While a paternity test can prove whether or not a child is biologically yours, not all couples feel the need to request one. However, if you notice any potential signs of paternity fraud, requesting a test to confirm paternity should be considered.

Fixating on an Affidavit

Establishing paternity is one of the first steps in creating a legal obligation for a father to financially support his biological children and securing his legal rights through legitimation if the child was born out of wedlock. In Georgia, evidence of paternity includes the appearance of a man’s name on a child’s birth certificate with his social security number included and/or the completion of a paternity acknowledgment affidavit. If your former partner is suddenly requesting that you complete a Paternity Acknowledgment Form in front of a notary without fully explaining that request, it is a good idea to seek legal advice before signing.

Cash Only Support Request

Child support enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services in Georgia may require that a genetic paternity test is completed if you and your former partner were not married or you are not listed on the birth certificate. Once requested, this step becomes a mandatory part of establishing a support order requiring you to provide for your child financially. If your former partner does not want the court or state government involved in child support at all, then they may want to avoid having a paternity test completed.

Attempting to Secure Default Judgments

Once a claim for child support is initiated and the court becomes involved, both parties must comply with the court’s instructions in order to receive a fair judgment. If one party fails to attend hearings or does not present themselves for genetic testing as ordered, they may find themselves facing a default judgment. Some parents who are attempting to fraudulently attribute paternity may insist on hearing dates and times that they know the named father cannot or will not attend. Failing to attend because of misinformation places an individual in the position of fighting to prove that the judgment is incorrect while simultaneously being held responsible for the judgment that was made in his or her absence.

Seeking Legal Advice

If you or someone you know believes they may become a victim of paternity fraud, getting legal advice immediately is vital. An attorney can discuss your choices with you before you sign any damaging acknowledgments or create a situation that places the burden of proof on you and your attorney. The legitimation and paternity attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how delicate paternity issues are. We are prepared to help you discover the truth without risking your relationship with your child. Contact us today to schedule a discrete consultation at one of our four Atlanta metro area locations so that we can begin providing you with the legal representation that you need.