Paternity is an important legal concept in the realm of family law. While it is a straightforward process to determine a child’s mother based on the child’s birth, determining their father can be a less obvious endeavor. In Georgia there are different ways that a man may be proven to be the father of a child and establish his paternity over that child.
If a man is married to a woman when she becomes pregnant with a child, or if a man marries a pregnant woman before she gives birth, under the law the man may be presumed to be the child’s father. However, if a man is not married to a woman, he may need to find a different manner of establishing paternity over his child.
The parents can sign a legitimation form to establish the father’s paternity of the child if they choose to marry after the mother gives birth, or if the parents decide not to marry they can sign an acknowledgement of paternity that recognizes the man as the father of the child. If a mother is unwilling to engage in these legal courses of action a man may have to file a court action and submit to testing to prove that he is a child’s father.
Genetic testing can prove with accuracy whether a man is the father of a child. The testing is based on physical samples collected from the man and the child and genetic information from the two is then compared to establish or refute a claim of paternity. Once a man has established that he is the father of a child, he may have options for fighting for custodial and visitation rights with the child so that they may build a lasting relationship.