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4 Ways to Establish Paternity

Paternity is the age-old "baby daddy" question. It's the legal recognition of a man as a child's father. Paternity often has to be established for legal rights like child custody, support, visitation, adoption and inheritance.

Paternity is commonly established through DNA testing. But it's not the only way. Here are a few other ways Georgia allows paternity establishments to be made:

1. Legal Marriage

If the parents are married when the child is born, the law presumes that the husband is the biological father of the child. Married parents don't have to do anything else for legally binding paternity to be established.

2. Paternity Acknowledgement Form

For parents who aren't married, an option to establish paternity is signing a Paternity Acknowledgement Form. Parents can sign it in the hospital after the child is born, at the State Office of Vital Records in Atlanta, the Office of Vital Records in the county where the child is born, among other places.

Paternity Acknowledgement Forms don't give fathers alone the right to gain custody. To get custody, the father has to go through legitimation.

3. Court Orders

Paternity can also be established through a court order. A local, state, or federal court in Georgia can issue the court order. A variety of court orders can establish paternity like divorce decrees, agreements for legal separation, or other judicial/administrative orders.

4. Challenging Paternity Establishments

After paternity has been established, a father or mother may challenge the paternity establishment. To the horror of every Jerry Springer fan, although medical evidence used to establish paternity is usually reliable and accurate, they come up with erroneous results sometimes.

For example, paternity can be successfully challenged in the following ways:

  • Tainted lab results
  • Fraudulent lab results
  • Proof of infertility/sterility
  • Proof that test results were tampered with
  • Proof of the mother's infidelity in marriage (for cases where the husband is the presumed father)

Paternity issues can get pretty complex, so if you need to establish paternity of your child, you might want to check with an Atlanta family law attorney to see if they can assist you with your case.

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