Determining who a child’s biological father is can be crucial for both legal and personal reasons. In practice, however, establishing paternity can be a complex and emotionally overwhelming pursuit. It can also be a difficult fact to enforce legally when it comes to receiving child support payments and sharing custody or visitation rights.
Whether you want to prove someone is your child’s father or verify your paternity over a child, a Crabapple paternity lawyer could provide irreplaceable assistance. In complicated and sensitive situations like this, a seasoned father’s rights attorney’s guidance can be vital to protecting your best interests and those of the child or children involved. Contact our firm for more information and help you can rely on.
Any time a child is born to married opposite-sex parents in Georgia, the male spouse is presumed to be the child’s biological father and will be listed as such on the birth certificate unless contested by either party. Parents who are not married may jointly sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form. This can either be done at the hospital immediately after their child’s birth, or at a later date in either the Fulton County or Georgia State Office of Vital Records. Paternity may alternatively be established through a court order during divorce or separation proceedings.
It should be noted that, as of July 1, 2015, state law requires the Division of Child Support Services to conduct biological paternity testing in all new child support cases. The child’s biological father, as determined by those results, would be responsible for paying all associated testing costs and fees. An attorney in Crabapple that is practiced in paternity law can explain how these processes work and explore what options might be available in a particular situation.
Once an individual is established legally as a child’s biological father, they automatically take on responsibility for financially supporting that child. In accordance with state child support guidelines, this standard will continue until the child turns 18 or becomes otherwise emancipated. The child also has a right to inherit money, real estate, and other personal property from their biological father upon their father’s death, if applicable.
Importantly, being established as a child’s biological father grants that person the right to petition for custody or visitation rights with that child. As a paternity lawyer in Crabapple can further explain, however, it does not automatically grant such rights in the absence of a family court order enforcing them. Even if biological paternity is positively established, Georgia family courts still have the authority to limit or deny a father’s custody rights.
State law does not set a time limit regarding when a paternity test may be taken and when someone may be legally established as a child’s biological father. However, waiting longer than necessary after a child’s birth to establish paternity can complicate any future legal proceedings. Additional stress for everybody involved, including the child, could be avoided by contacting a Crabapple paternity lawyer for help with your unique situation sooner rather than later. Call the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today and speak with a qualified member of our team about scheduling a free consultation.