Fathers in the state of Georgia and all over the United States face a variety of issues when it comes to their children. Mothers are often seen as the true caregivers, providers and protectors, so it is rare for them to be challenged or questioned in the way that fathers are when they want to exercise their parental rights and seek child custody. All children have both a mother and a father, but there are some instances where fathers have to go the extra step to prove paternity before they have access to any other parental rights.
How Is Paternity Established?
There is more than one way for a man to establish paternity. For a married couple, when a child is born, it is assumed that the male is the father. However, things work a bit differently when the couple is unwed. Both parents can sign what is called a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement after the child is born. What this form does is name the mother and the father, but also establishes rights for the child. Upon signing this document, parents are stating that they will provide for the child financially, share an emotional bond with the child, and more.
It is important for parents to make note of the fact that even someone who is not the father of the child can sign the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement. At the time of signing, if someone believes they are the father of the child, but later starts to question this, they have 60 days to cancel this Paternity Acknowledgement form. Should they miss the 60-day deadline, they will have to challenge paternity in court. However, they will still be held responsible for any parental obligations until the case has concluded and it is determined that he isn’t the actual father.
What Happens If a Father Denies Paternity?
Some men aren’t always convinced that they are the father when a woman informs him that she is expecting or has had a child. When this happens, the mother has options if she wants to prove parentage and ensure the child receives financial support and health insurance coverage. At this point, she can take legal action, which is when the courts will require the alleged father to take a paternity test that will prove if he is in fact the father. Following the paternity test, if the man is the father, he will have to care for the child financially, but will also ideally assume the many other responsibilities of a father.
No parent should see their presence in their child’s life as optional because children need to be cared for by both parents. Regardless of the relationship between the mother and the father, both parents should be there to give their child the emotional, mental and financial support they need. If that requires the father to establish paternity beforehand, then it must be done. Those in Carrollton, GA who are in need of assistance with their paternity case can contact a family law attorney from Moffitt Law, LLC.
Tyler Moffitt is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices Carrollton, LaGrange, and Columbus, GA. He graduated from John Marshall Law School, and has been practicing for several years now. Tyler Moffitt takes great honor in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.