Children benefit emotionally, financially and medically from knowing their fathers

The establishment of paternity is an important factor in building a strong foundation for a child’s emotional growth. It can have a positive impact on a child’s relationship with his or her parents and lead to access to greater resources in the future. 

When a child's parents are legally married to each other at the time of his or her birth, the husband is presumed to be the biological and legal father. Unmarried parents, however, will need to establish paternity. One way to do this is by signing a Paternity Acknowledgement (PA) form at or near after the time of a the child’s birth. The PA form helps to establish the father-child relationship when the biological father is not married to the mother. It creates certain legal responsibilities for the mother and fathe.

Parents can complete the PA form at a Vital Records office after leaving the hospital. The PA , once completed and signed in the presence of a Notary, will be forwarded to the state’s Vital Records office where it will be entered into the State Putative Father Registry.

Here are some of the benefits of establishing paternity and completing the PA form.

Helps to establish a child’s identity.
It is important for a child to know the identity of his or her father. Research indicates that knowing one’s identity is crucial to emotional development. Establishing paternity will provide emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child.

Helps build a connection between parents and children.
Children need both parents and establishing paternity will allow the child to develop a connection to both father and mother.

Provides a more accurate medical history for the child.
When doctors know the medical history of both parents, it improves the child’s ability to receive appropriate medical care. Paternity establishment allows a child to have access to information about medical histories on both sides of his or her family.

Ensures that child receives financial support.
Children have a right to receive financial support from both parents. Establishing paternity will ensure that the child has the right to receive Social Security and veteran’s benefits from his or her father

For more information on Paternity Acknowledgment and establishment, contact the Georgia Paternity Acknowledgment Program at 1-844-MYGADHS (1-844-694-2347), select options 1, 2 and 3 or visit https://childsupport.georgia.gov/programs-services/paternity-establishment