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Petitions to Establish Paternity in Georgia

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Publish Date: 05/01/2007

In Georgia, a child born out of wedlock is considered the biological child of both his mother and father, but only the mother is immediately considered to be the “legal parent.” In situationssuch as this, the father may not be supporting the child at all, or an older child may wish to know with certainty the identity of his/her father. To remedy issues such as these, a party may filea petition to establish paternity. This petition may be brought by the child, the mother of the child, any relative in whose care the child has been placed, the Department of Human Services (ifpublic assistance is received), or an alleged father. OCGA §19-7-43(a)(1-5). The petition may be brought before the child is born, but all proceedings except service of process,discovery and depositions must be stayed until after the birth. OCGA §19-7-43(c).

Any party to the paternity proceeding may move for genetic testing of the mother, alleged father, and the child or children. OCGA §19-7-43(d). The motion must be “supported by a swornstatement (1) alleging paternity and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties; or (2) denying paternity and setting forthfacts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties.” OCGA §19-7-43(d). The court is required to grant the motion unless if finds good cause, or good excuse for noncooperation. Id.

The specifics surrounding genetic testing will be discussed in more detail in a future blog.

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