Douglas W. Lewis, Lawrenceville Attorney – Gwinnett Legitimation, Paternity, Divorce, Custody, and Family Law
GWINNETT LEGITIMATION ATTORNEY – 11 ESSENTIAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LEGITIMATION IN GEORGIA
PATERNITY & CHILD SUPPORT
This is the second of a five-part series regarding the 11 Essential Things You Should Know About Legitimation in Georgia
Recent studies have shown that among women under thirty years old, more than one-half of all babies are now born outside of marriage. That means with the new year fast approaching, it is now more likely that the first baby born at Gwinnett Medical Center to a mother under thirty years of age will be born out of wedlock.
Family law attorneys in Gwinnett County are receiving an ever- increasing number of inquiries concerning legitimation and paternity issues in general, and the rights of the biological father of a child born out of wedlock in particular.
In Part I, we discussed that Georgia law states that the biological father of a child born out of wedlock does not have any visitation or custody rights to the child unless he legally legitimates the child and that if a Paternity Acknowledgment form is not signed then the father's name will not appear n the birth certificate.
This following addresses #3 and #4 of the most Essential Things You Should Know About Legitimation in Georgia:
3. Signing the Paternity Acknowledgment form and having the father's name put on the child's birth certificate does not give the biological father any visitation or custody rights to the child
Signing the Paternity Acknowledgment only establishes paternity, it does not grant the father any visitation rights to the child. Paternity is the legal word for the fatherhood. When paternity is established the biological father of a child is legally identified.
There are at least three ways to establish paternity in Georgia:
By Marriage – The parents of the child are legally married to each other at the time of the child's birth;
Administratively – The parents of a child born out of wedlock sign a Paternity Acknowledgment form either (a) at the hospital at the time of the child's birth or (b) before the child's first birthday at the State Office of Vital Records in Atlantaor at the Vital Records Office in the county where the child was born;
By Court Order – A Petition to Establish Paternity can be filed in the appropriate Superior Court by either the mother of the child or the father of the child. (A petition to establish paternity can also be filed by the Division of Child Support Services of the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DCSS) either in Superior Court or through an Administrative Court.
Once paternity is established, then an Order can be entered requiring the father of the child to pay child support to the mother. The Order may also require medical insurance to be provided for the benefit of the minor child.
4. The biological father of a child born out of wedlock has a duty under the law of Georgia to support the child even if the mother does not allow the biological father to see his child
Georgia law states , ”it is the joint and several duty of each parent of a child born out of wedlock to provide for the maintenance, protection, and education of the child until the child reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated, except to the extent that the duty of one parent is otherwise or further defined by court order.” (O.C.G.A. Section 19-7-24).
By signing the Paternity Acknowledgment form the father legally accepts his duty and responsibility under the law to support his child.
In Gwinnett County, the mother of a child born out of wedlock can make application with the Division of Child Support Services in order to establish paternity of her child. Once paternity is established a monthly child support obligation is required which the biological father must pay whether he is allowed by the mother to see his child or not. Issues of visitation and custody cannot be addressed in child support cases filed with the Division of Child Support Services.
If you or a family member or a friend have any questions about what happens when a child is born out of wedlock in Gwinnett County, or in any other County in the metro-Atlanta area including Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, Walton, Barrow, Hall and Forsyth counties, then please do not hesitate to immediately call attorney Doug Lewis at 770-682-3765 for a free initial telephone consultation.
Lawrenceville Attorney Douglas W. Lewis has over twenty years of experience in Gwinnett County and the Atlanta Metro area handling divorce, legitimation, paternity and child custody cases, family law cases, personal injury cases, criminal defense, civil litigation cases and estate planning matters. If you have any questions please call the Lawrenceville office for a free initial phone consultation or to schedule an office consultation. You can contact attorney Doug Lewis by telephone at 770-682-3765, via email. Client reviews can be found on Mr. Lewis' Google + page and on his website.