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Key facts about petitioning to establish paternity in Georgia

In Georgia, paternity is important for a child as well as the parents. Not only does it benefit the child to know who their father is and to have a relationship, but it is also critical for financial, medical and personal support. Often, there are paternity disputes that must be settled through legal means.

This could be due to there being more than one potential father; because an alleged father is denying paternity; or a mother claims that a man who says he is the child’s father is not. For people in this complicated and emotionally charged situation, it is important to know the law about a petition to establish paternity.

What should I know about paternity establishment in Georgia?

People with the right to file a petition to establish paternity include the child; the mother; relatives who are caring for the child; the Department of Human Services for a child who is getting public assistance or for a child who is not getting these services when a custodian has applied for it or the alleged father.

Even if there is an agreement in place as to who the legal father is among any of the parties, there can still be a petition filed. When there is a petition prior to the child’s birth, the proceeding will be stayed other than for clerical issues like discovery and depositions.

If no paternity was established, any party involved or potentially involved can motion for genetic tests. There are basic requirements including presenting facts about the possibility of paternity from having sexual relations; a denial of paternity based on not having sexual relations; or denying having had sexual relations. Prior to paternity being established, anyone involved can be ordered by the Department of Human Services to take a genetic test.

With paternity cases, having legal guidance is key from every perspective

Paternity cases can be complex and challenging. If, for example, a person had an extramarital affair and is accused of being the parent of a child whose alleged father is someone other than the spouse, it can be a major issue. This is especially true if there are denials of a relationship and the entire marriage could be at risk.

The child’s needs are also essential. Regardless of the perspective, this has myriad ramifications in just about every way. For help with a case, having professional advice is crucial to find the facts and move forward.