Prior to 2002, when Georgia’s current statutory law regarding setting aside paternity judgments was enacted, it was slightly more difficult to successfully challenge an inaccurate or inappropriate paternity judgment, because the law of challenging paternity judgments was largely based on case law. With the enactment of Georgia’s current statutory law regarding setting aside paternity judgments 2002, those seeking to challenge paternity judgments were given a statutory framework outlining when a paternity judgment may be challenged and how.
According to Georgia law, in order for a man to successfully challenge a paternity judgment via a motion to set aside a determination of paternity, he must file his motion with the Superior Court in the appropriate county along with the following documents:
(1) An affidavit executed by the movant that the newly discovered evidence has come to movant’s knowledge since the entry of judgment; and
(2) The results from scientifically credible parentage-determination genetic testing, as authorized under Code Section 19-7-46 and administered within 90 days prior to the filing of such motion that finds that there is a 0 percent probability that the male ordered to pay such child support is the father of the child for whom support is required.
O.C.G.A. § 19-7-54(a).
If a man who has been determined to be the legal father of a child, and thus ordered to pay child support, is able to meet the requirements set out above, the presiding court will grant his motion if the court also finds the following to be true:
(1) The genetic test required in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section was properly conducted;
(2) The male ordered to pay child support has not adopted the child;
(3) The child was not conceived by artificial insemination while the male ordered to pay child support and the child’s mother were in wedlock;
(4) The male ordered to pay child support did not act to prevent the biological father of the child from asserting his paternal rights with respect to the child; and
(5) The male ordered to pay child support with knowledge that he is not the biological father of the child has not:
(A) Married the mother of the child and voluntarily assumed the parental obligation and duty to pay child support;
(B) Acknowledged his paternity of the child in a sworn statement;
(C) Been named as the child’s biological father on the child’s birth certificate with his consent;
(D) Been required to support the child because of a written voluntary promise;
(E) Received written notice from the Department of Human Resources, any other state agency, or any court directing him to submit to genetic testing which he disregarded;
(F) Signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity as provided in Code Section 19-7-46.1; or
(G) Proclaimed himself to be the child’s biological father.
O.C.G.A. § 19-7-54(b).
The above cited law addresses when and how a man may go about challenging a paternity judgment rendered by a court in Georgia. However, when paternity has been established via a voluntarily acknowledged paternity, the means to set aside or obtain relief from an inappropriate paternity determination are different. If you are a man who has been determined to be the legal father of a child, and you believe this determination was made in error, or if you believe you have acknowledged or agreed to a paternity determination in error, contact a member of the Atlanta Divorce Team to discuss the legal options available to set aside the paternity judgment and terminate the associated child support order.