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Proving paternity in Georgia

Having a child is often one of the happiest moments of a a person's life, but when paternity issues come into question, it can make the experience less than exciting. Paternity laws vary in each state, but in Georgia, simply being the father of a child does not automatically establish paternity. Even signing a birth certificate will not guarantee a father the rights a parent deserves. Fortunately, there are mechanisms for accomplishing this even when the mother doesn't cooperate.

The easiest way paternity is established is for the mother and father to be legally married at the time of their child's birth. Their union alone is enough to establish legitimation. Of course, there are instances where two individuals may not be ready to wed or simply may not want to. In these cases, the parents can sign a legal document known as the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Form.

This form can be signed at the hospital, but if it is not, it can later be signed at the Vital Records Office in the child's birth county or in the state capital at the State Office of Vital Records. If a mother will not agree to this, though, a judge can grant a court order establishing paternity. If needed, genetic paternity can also be established through the Division of Child Support Services.

A mother is not required to list a father on a birth certificate, and even if she does, that doesn't automatically legitimate a child. When a mother is unwilling to admit who the father of her child is, it may violate the father's rights to be a part of the child's life. Fortunately, there are legal mechanisms in place to remedy these types of situations. With legal help, a father may be able to establish paternity and ensure his rights are protected even without the mother's blessing.

Source: Georgia Department of Human Services, "Paternity Establishment", November 06, 2014

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