Parents are responsible for providing financially for their children, which is one of the reasons it is important to establish paternity when it is unknown.
In child support cases, where a child’s father has not yet been established, the Georgia Division of Child Support Services can conduct a paternity test using DNA.
Paternity in Georgia can also be established in other ways. It can be established if the child’s parents are legally married to each other at the time the child is born.
A Georgia court can also issue a court order establishing paternity for a child through a divorce decree, separation agreement or other order.
Voluntary paternity acknowledgement
If the child’s parents are not married, they can sign a voluntary paternity acknowledgement form at the hospital when the child is born or at the vital records office in the county where the child is born.
When the child’s father signs this voluntary form, he is accepting the responsibility for child support and medical insurance until the child becomes a legal adult. The child’s birth certificate will show the father’s name as well.
Either parent can request to cancel the form within 60 days of signature, but if it isn’t cancelled within that time it becomes a legal determination of paternity. If the parents want to change it after that time, they can do so only by challenging it in court.
A family law attorney can help couples with questions about paternity, including the testing process, any applicable costs and the responsibilities the parent has once paternity is established, including child support. He or she can also provide guidance about custody arrangements.