In legal terms, “What is proof of paternity?” refers to the evidence used to establish the identity of a child’s biological father.
In the state of Georgia, several methods can be utilized to prove paternity.
These include voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, genetic testing ordered by the court, and the presumption of paternity if the parents are legally married when the child is born.
Let’s take a closer look at paternity in Georgia.
Establishing Paternity in Georgia
Establishing paternity in Georgia involves either voluntary recognition or going through legal proceedings.
It’s an essential step for unmarried fathers to gain legal rights and responsibilities towards their children.
However – note that establishing paternity alone does NOT automatically grant those legal rights to the father. The father must also become legitimated.
It also ensures that the child has access to financial support, inheritance rights, medical history, and social benefits from both parents.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Georgia
One of the most straightforward ways to establish paternity is through voluntary acknowledgment.
In Georgia, both parents can sign a legal document called the Paternity Acknowledgment form at the hospital shortly after the child’s birth.
This form essentially confirms that the man signing it is the biological father of the child.
The father will then be added to the child’s birth certificate.
This can be done by married or unmarried parents.
Parents Are Legally Married When Child Is Born
According to Georgia law, if a couple is legally married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is automatically presumed to be the biological father – and thus, has paternity established.
This presumption stands unless challenged in court with evidence to the contrary.
Georgia Court Order Establishing Paternity
In situations where paternity is disputed, a Georgia court order may be necessary to establish paternity.
This usually involves DNA testing to confirm the biological relationship between the father and the child.
Once paternity is established through a court order, the father can move forward to request the court to be legitimated and ask for custody and visitation.
If the legitimation is granted, then the father assumes all legal rights and responsibilities towards the child per the court’s order.
Is A Birth Certificate An Acknowledgement Of Paternity in Georgia?
In Georgia, the father’s name on the birth certificate is not always an automatic legal acknowledgment of paternity.
For unmarried parents, the father’s name can only be included on the birth certificate if both parents sign the voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form.
How to Get A Court Ordered DNA Test in Georgia
If there’s a dispute about paternity, any involved party – the mother, the alleged father, or even the child – can petition the court for a DNA test.
The court will then order a genetic test to be done by an approved laboratory.
The results of this test provide definitive proof of paternity, and the court will make a legal decision based on the results.
Usually, the party requesting the test is required to pay for it. In some cases, the judge may order the parties to split the cost 50/50.
The parent with custody of the child must bring the child to the DNA testing lab. If they do not, then they could be held in contempt of court, until the take the child to the lab.
Understanding what constitutes proof of paternity in Georgia is crucial for protecting the rights and interests of all parties involved – the child, the mother, and the father.
Always consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to guide you through this complex legal process.