Becoming a father means opening up to a broad range of new experiences and taking on quite a bit of personal responsibility. New fathers often worry about how they will protect their children and their relationship with their child, especially if they did not marry the child’s mother.
The good news for unmarried fathers is that it is relatively simple to establish paternity if one follows the right procedures required by the state. Unfortunately, many fathers don’t understand the process and may let rumors that they have heard intimidate them. For example, many people have heard or even shared the urban legend that only those who litigate can establish paternity. However, contrary to what some people claim, it is not always necessary for unmarried fathers to go to court to prove they are the father of a child.
Men can establish paternity with the help of the mother
Georgia allows for a relatively quick and cooperative paternity process if the mother of the child acknowledges the father. The two can fill out paternity acknowledgment paperwork together that will add the father’s name to the birth certificate. It is possible to take this step right when a child enters the world at the hospital.
Fathers also have the option of approaching the mother to amend the existing birth certificate anytime while the child is still a minor. Even if the relationship between the two parents is not particularly positive, the mother may cooperate because establishing paternity will benefit the child involved.
When there are questions or cooperation issues, the courts can help
Sometimes, there is some lingering uncertainty about who might actually be the biological father of the child. Other times, the mother of the child may refuse to cooperate and will not acknowledge the father despite his desire to play an active role in the life of the child. Although some people are averse to family court proceedings, the courts can provide invaluable support to fathers who want a strong relationship with their children.
Establishing paternity is usually the first step toward asserting parental rights with the help of an experienced legal professional and cementing the foundation of a relationship with a biological child in Georgia.