For a child, knowing his or her identity can be a crucial part of positive, emotional development. Establishing paternity is a step to helping children embrace their identity and foster healthy, loving and lifelong relationships between parents and children.
When parents are legally married to each other at the time of their child’s birth, the husband is presumed to be the biological and legal father. Unmarried parents, however, will need to take a few extra steps to ensure that the paternity of their child is solidified.
It is important for unmarried parents to establish paternity to help their child gain access to greater resources in the future. It also helps build a strong relationship between the biological father and child, and creates certain legal responsibilities for both the mother and father.
Establishing paternity for a child in Georgia may be done in one of the following ways:
- The child’s parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child’s birth
- Unwed parents sign a voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form at one of the following places:
- the hospital when the child is born, or later at either
- the State Office of Vital Records in Atlanta or the Vital Records Office in the county where the child is born
- Through an established court order (divorce decree, separation agreement or other judicial or administrative order).
For more information about the Georgia Paternity Acknowledgement program, please visit the Division of Child Support Services’ website at https://childsupport.georgia.gov/programs-services/paternity-establishment.