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Notice requirements when a child is conceived out of wedlock

If a man has sexual relations with a woman out of wedlock, there will be no legal presumption of paternity if that woman gives birth to a child, even if the two adults have every reason to believe that the man is the biological father. When no legal paternity is established, a woman is not required to give a man notice when she gives birth or even when she puts a baby up for adoption, unless the potential father is listed in a Putative Father Registry in the state where the woman gives birth. Georgia is one of 33 states that has such a registry. According to some observers, the requirements for Putative Father Registries can be more burdensome and problematic than they are a tool to help men link themselves to their children. The registries often require information that is tedious or impossible to obtain. In Georgia, men are expected to list the date of expected birth of a child. Consequently, a man who merely wants to protect his fathers' rights is expected to register every instance of sexual intercourse with a woman to whom he is not married.Women may avoid the notification requirements by giving birth in another state. Even if a man does manage to properly list himself in a state's registry, this data will not transfer interstate. Once a baby is put up for adoption in another state, a man could lose his claim to child custody. Men who want to establish their paternity after a child has already been born may want to speak with an attorney about submitting to a paternity test in court. Family law attorneys may also represent men and help them request modifications to child support payments or child custody arrangements. Source: Georgia Department of Public Health, "Putative Father Registry Frequently Asked Questions."

Source: The Atlantic , "Sex and the Single Man: What If Your Partner Has a Kid?", Kevin Maillard, April 21, 2014

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