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How to claim legal paternity in Georgia

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If you have a child outside of marriage, Georgia does not automatically recognize you as the child’s legal father. You must take steps to claim legal paternity.

Learn more about the process of becoming your child’s legal father and the benefits of paternity in Georgia.

Voluntary paternity acknowledgment

When married parents have a baby, the state automatically considers the husband to be the child’s legal father. If unmarried but you and the mother agree that you are the child’s biological father, you can both sign the Georgia Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Form. You can get this document at the hospital when your baby is born or at the Vital Records Office in the county where you live. The form is legally binding so you should not sign if you are not sure if you are the father.

State paternity testing

When a mother requests child support, Georgia requires a DNA paternity test if the child’s father does not already have legal paternity. You can also request a test if you want to establish legal paternity but have doubts about whether you fathered the child.

Becoming your child’s legal father has benefits for both you and the baby. He or she can receive Social Security, veterans benefits and inheritance rights on your behalf. You can also build a lifetime bond that will support your child’s health and well-being as he or she grows.

After establishing legal paternity, you earn the right to have an important role in your child’s life. You can petition the court for custody or visitation. It also carries responsibilities. Georgia requires both parents to provide financial support.

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