Marietta, GA Family Law Attorney Skillfully Manages Paternity Actions
Caring representation for mothers and putative fathers throughout Cobb County
A court cannot assign or enforce parental rights and responsibilities until a legal parent-child relationship has been established. When a man and woman are married, the law presumes the husband is the father of any child born to the couple. But when a couple is not married, they must take affirmative steps to establish a legally recognized father-child relationship. At the Law Offices of Daryl L. Kidd, P.C., we help men and women resolve questions of paternity. We handle these family law cases with the utmost sensitivity and discretion, protecting our clients’ rights throughout the process.
Why paternity actions can be necessary
Parental duties and rights can’t be enforced until there’s a determination of paternity. Doubts about paternity create problems for all involved:
- Putative fathers — Single fathers who want to have a relationship with their children cannot have parenting time over the objections of the mother. After establishing paternity, a man can petition the court to approve a parenting plan, including orders for custody and visitation. Men who have had a relationship with the mother can also benefit from a negative determination of paternity, which frees them from responsibility for another man’s child.
- Children — Contact with a father is very important to a child’s development. But at the very minimum, child support is the child’s right, and a child has the right to inherit from a father. Additionally, a child may want to know his or her father to be aware of the family medical history.
- Single mothers — A mother cannot collect child support payments until the court is satisfied about the identity of the father. A mother cannot put a child up for adoption until the father’s parental rights are terminated.
Our firm represents all interested parties in paternity matters.
How to establish paternity legally in Georgia
There are two ways to establish paternity under Georgia family law when the man is not married to the mother:
- Voluntary acknowledgement — Unwed parents can sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Form at the hospital when the child is born or later at the State Office of Vital Records in Atlanta or the Vital Records Office in the county where the child was born. Since 2005, men have also been able to use these forms to legitimate their children, giving the child the right to inherit from the father, access medical history on the father’s side, and be placed in a paternal relative’s home if the mother is unable to provide care. Legitimation also gives the father the right to petition a court for custody or visitation rights.
- Court order — Either the mother or the father can petition the court to order DNA testing. Since July 1, 2015, the Georgia Division of Child Support Services has been required to conduct paternity testing in all new child support cases where paternity is not already established. If the blood test establishes paternity, the father must pay the cost of testing. If the test excludes a man as the biological father, the mother must pay the testing fee.
Paternity actions have lasting consequences. Make sure you consult a family law attorney you can trust.
Contact our Marietta family law firm for unwavering support of your parental rights
For more than three decades, the Law Offices of Daryl L. Kidd, P.C. has served Marietta-area clients. If you are in the midst of a paternity dispute, call us at 888-532-8543 or contact our office online. We offer a reduced rate for initial consultations and flexible office hours during the week to accommodate your schedule.