Are you a mother seeking to establish paternity?

Family law deals with divorce, child support, spousal support, mediation, separation, and many other areas. Due to the scope of family law, no two cases are the same. Cases dealing with children often surround the topic of parental responsibility. Many times when parents are not married and a child is born, the question of paternity comes to the forefront. Over the years at our firm, we have spoken to many parents asking why they should press for paternity of their child or children. We will address some of these questions in this article. 

How is paternity established?

The first step in establishing paternity of a child is most commonly through the child’s birth certificate which is signed at the time of the child’s birth. However, just signing the birth certificate is not in and of itself sufficient in the eyes of the law to legally establish paternity. Most states, including Georgia, give parents an opportunity to establish paternity, voluntarily, by signing a Paternity Acknowledgement Form after the birth of the child. This process is commonly called an Administrative Establishment of Paternity.

If a father will not voluntarily attest to being a child’s parent then the mother can request from the courts that the father be subject to a DNA test. In Georgia, this can be done either through private legal action or through the Division of Child Support Services at the Department of Human Services

What’s the difference between paternity and legitimation?

In a previous blog, we explained what legitimation is and why there’s so much confusion surrounding it. Legitimation and paternity are related but very different legal subjects. 

If a mother seeks to establish paternity of a child, that does not automatically mean that the father will have custody or legal rights to the child. Paternity does mean that the father will be responsible for support. So if paternity is established but the child is not legitimized, a father could end up paying child support but have no rights to parenting time with his child.

Legitimation establishes a legal relationship between a father and child. With legitimation a father will be able to press for parenting time, or even custody; the same rights that a legal guardian would have over a child. A mother can fight against a father wanting to legitimate a child by claiming the man is not the biological father, or that the father has lost the ability to connect to the child.

Why establish paternity?

Many mothers seek to establish paternity of their child because of the enhanced economic benefit it may bring. With paternity established the mother then has the right to seek financial support for the child from the father. A child is also eligible to inherit from their father’s estate, receive the father’s social security benefits, and health insurance.

For more information on mothers established paternity, checkout this video by veteran attorney Joy Edwards. 

Contact Us Today

At the Edwards Law Group, we have over 15 years of experience in representing parents in child support, paternity, legitimation, spousal support, and all areas of family law. We understand that family law cases are all unique and how this area of the law can present stress and anxiety. The Edwards Law team is compassionate and highly trained to handle your case. If you have any questions regarding your Georgia family law case, contact us today to set up a strategy session.