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Former Hawk Joe Johnson Files Docs to Establish His Paternity

A good chunk of our posts have dealt with professional athletes who've fallen behind on their child support payments. However, not all pro athletes are deadbeat dads.

Former Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson recently signed a $126-million contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Now, he wants to ensure that his son gets a piece of it. Johnson has filed paternity documents in Georgia court to establish himself as the legal father of his 5-year-old son, TMZ reports.

Johnson reportedly had the child with Shannon Beckton. According to TMZ, the all-star guard has filed paperwork to establish himself has the boy's father. However, the filing is contingent on the results of a paternity test Johnson plans to take.

If a man and woman are married while the woman is pregnant, the man's paternity is generally presumed. However, if the father and mother aren't married, they usually have to do some paperwork to establish the father's paternity. If the mother agrees that the man is her child's father, the two can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and file it with the state. Once filed, the child's birth certificate will be amended to include the father's name.

Before establishing their rights as a father, many men, including Johnson, want to ensure that they actually are the child's biological father. Paternity tests are usually based on a blood or DNA sample and are generally 90 to 99 percent accurate. Overall, the tests are accurate enough to exclude individuals who aren't the biological father.

Sometimes, a father may be willing to pay for child support, but simply wants the security that comes with a judicial determination. A judicial determination will ensure that the father has parental rights, like access to the child. In his filing, Johnson requests joint legal and physical custody of his son, pending the results of the paternity test. The judge has yet to rule on Johnson's request.

If Joe Johnson is granted joint physical custody of his 5-year-old son, the boy will split his time living with Shannon Beckton and Johnson. If he's granted joint legal custody of the boy, Johnson and Beckton will share the right to make important decisions about the boy's future, including decisions regarding his education, medical care, and religious upbringing.

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