How Do You Establish Paternity of a Child?

Establishing Paternity of a Child

The Paternity Process enables a man to establish legal recognition that he is the father of a child, or even an adult. DNA testing is a common manner to establish paternity in Georgia.

Reasons to Establish Paternity

When two people have a child there may be uncertainty on who is the biological father of the child. Establishing paternity is important for severl reasons. The top reasons to establish paternity are:

  • A child deserves to know the true identity of his father. This is important for things ranging from a child being able to establish a strong sense of self to understanding family health history.
  • It prevents potential interpersonal conflicts.
  • It establishes a father's right to petition for visitation, custody, and other aspects of being actively involved in the child's life.
  • It enables the birth mother to legally petition for child support from the biological father.
  • It protects a man who is wrongfully said to be the biological father, and who otherwise may be forced to pay child support.
  • It establishes a legal basis for a child to benefit from inheritance claims.

How to Establish Paternity in Georgia

In Georgia, there are two common methods for legally establishing paternity. One is a simple Acknowledgment of Paternity form, and the other is clinical DNA testing.

The first, and easiest, way to establish paternity is for both parents to sign a form called a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. This form is a legal document that confirms that two adults openly agree as to the identity of the child's biological father, who then will be formally recognized as the child’s legal father.

The signed Acknowledgment of Paternity form may then be filed with the Putative Father Registry of Georgia’s Department of Public Health. The most valuable benefit from doing this is that it requires the State to notify the biological father if the child is surrendered for adoption. This opens the door for the father to seek custody of the child(ren) instead of the children being adopted by others.

For the father's name to appear on the birth certificate both parents must sign the form at the hospital. Click the following link to learn more about getting a fathers name on a birth certificate.

Paternity and Visitation Rights

Paternity, once established, does not automatically assure the father of any particular visitation or custody rights. However, it does establish a legal standing from which the father can petition the court for visittion or custody rights. rt and ask a judge to grant him custody and visitation rights.

The second way to establish paternity in Georgia is for the birth mother, father, or government social worker to file a paternity action with a family court. This action normally results in what is termed an "involuntary determination" by the court establishing that the alleged father is formally recognized as the child’s biological and legal father.

DNA Testing can be utilized to clinically determine the identification of the child’s biological father.


We invite you to contact our law firm to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney. Simply call us at 770-956-1400.