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Atlanta Divorce Lawyer > Johns Creek Paternity Lawyer

Being a parent comes with certain legal rights and responsibilities. All parents, for instance, have a financial responsibility to support their children. This is true regardless of whether the parents are or were ever married. Parents also often have the right to visitation with their child. Establishing paternity of a child is one of the best ways to confirm these rights and obligations and can also play a critical role in a child’s development. The process, which often involves the establishment of paternity, as well as legitimation, can be difficult, so if you live in Georgia and have questions about establishing paternity, you should speak with a Johns Creek paternity lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you accordingly.

Legally establishing paternity of a child, or proving that a man is a child’s biological father, can be achieved in a few different ways in Georgia. If, for instance, a child’s parents are legally married at the time of the birth, then the mother’s husband will automatically be considered the child’s father.

When two parents are unwed, a child’s father can still voluntarily acknowledge his paternity of a child:

  • At the hospital when the child is born;
  • At the State Office of Vital Records; or
  • At the Vital Records Office in the county of the child’s birth.

In these cases, the parents need only complete the necessary forms in the presence of a Notary Public and then submit the document to the proper authority.

The third way to establish paternity is through a court order. These types of cases can be filed by the child’s mother, the putative father, a relative who is caring for the child, the Division of Child Support Services, or even the child him or herself. Furthermore, it isn’t always necessary to file a separate claim to establish paternity, as this can also be done via a court order in a divorce or separation proceeding. Confirming paternity in these cases will almost always require DNA testing of the parties involved.

Establishing paternity only confirms that a man is a child’s biological father and creates a child support obligation. Establishing the legal relationship between these two parties, or confirming a father’s rights to custody and visitation of a child, on the other hand, require legitimation. Legitimation can be achieved by completing the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form, which includes a legitimation clause. Alternatively, a putative father can file an action for legitimation in court, as long as the child has not yet reached the age of one years old.

While we recognize that establishing paternity and legitimation can have many positive effects for children and their parents, we also understand that taking these steps isn’t always appropriate. Whether you are seeking establishment of paternity, or believe that doing so wouldn’t be in your child’s best interests, we can help. To discuss your own paternity matter with an experienced Johns Creek paternity lawyer, please call Buckhead Family Law at 470-600-6699. You can also speak with a member of our legal team by setting up an initial consultation online.

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