Being a parent is a monumental commitment of your time and resources––physically, mentally, and financially. If your paternity is in question, you need to find definitive answers so you can understand your options and secure your rights.
The impacts of establishing paternity can last a lifetime. You should go into any paternity action as prepared and protected as possible, which is where a trusted child custody attorney can be a critical resource. Whether you need to find out if you are a child’s father or you know that you are a child’s father but need to prove it in court, a Sandy Springs paternity lawyer can help protect your rights and the rights of your children.
A petition for paternity is typically filed by the mother, the potential father, or the child. Some guardians or the state of Georgia can file a petition on the child’s behalf in certain circumstances. In any circumstance, a qualified Sandy Springs paternity attorney from our firm can help you file or respond to a petition for paternity.
If you are a father seeking to establish fatherhood, paternity actions in Georgia are heavily impacted by your relationship status with the child’s mother. If you were married to the mother when she became pregnant, you are legally assumed to be the father until you take a genetic paternity test. If you are found to not be the biological father, you could have the option to file a “motion to set aside a determination of paternity.” This option is generally only available if you do not make any claims of paternity after you discover that the child is not biologically yours. Setting aside a determination of paternity could relieve you of paying child support.
Genetic paternity tests are essential if you were not married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. Georgia paternity law will require you to undergo genetic testing to determine if you are the child’s biological father. The most common way to test DNA is through saliva or blood samples.
To have legal rights to your child, such as custody or visitation, you must establish legitimacy. If your child was conceived while you were married to their mother, your parentage is considered legitimate, barring clear evidence that you are not the father.
You can legitimize your child born out of wedlock if you marry your child’s mother and then sign a paternity acknowledgment. If you do not wish to marry the mother, you will need to file a legitimation petition with the Georgia court.
Once you have established legitimacy, you are legally recognized as the father and have the rights and responsibilities that follow. However, you will need a family court custody order to establish a custody or visitation arrangement. The Georgia courts decide custody based on the child’s best interest, and you will need to convince the family court that your proposed custody arrangement meets this standard.
You will likely need to pay child support if you are not the custodial parent. To calculate support payments, the family court will add the amount of your income with the mother’s income. That number will help determine the basic child support obligation. Once the support obligation is calculated, it is prorated to identify which parent is responsible for which amount based on their own earnings.
In Sandy Springs, a paternity lawyer can help you set the custody arrangements that work best for you and your child and protect your interests during child support determinations.
You have a right to know if you are a father; if so, you have a right to a relationship with your child. Similarly, as a mother, you have legal rights to receive support from your child’s father. Enlisting the help of an experienced Sandy Springs paternity lawyer can give you the information you need to determine paternity and establish the best legal arrangements for you and your family.