Georgia Paternity and Legitimation
When a married couple has a baby in Georgia, the husband is presumed to be that child’s father. For unmarried couples, however, establishing paternity may be more challenging, especially if one or both of the parents is seeking primary custody or child support.
How Is Paternity Established?
There are two main methods used to establish paternity:
- The father’s signature on a birth certificate: Not a guarantee of paternity, but strong evidence that this individual is the child’s father
- Genetic testing: Results of 97% probability of paternity or higher are sufficient under the law
Either parent may file a motion to establish paternity and request that genetic testing be completed.
Why Establish Paternity?
Establishing paternity is beneficial to both parents and the children. Once paternity is established, the father will have parental rights that may include custody and visitation. The child will be eligible to receive Social Security and other inheritance benefits when the father passes away, and the mother will be able to file for child support to benefit the child.
It is typically in the best interest of the child to have two parents. However, in some instances a mother may object to legitimizing her child, especially if the father has a history of abusive behavior or violence.