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Paternity

EXPERIENCED ATLANTA LAWYER ASSISTING INDIVIDUALS WITH FAMILY LAW MATTERS

The word paternity simply means “fatherhood,” but in law it refers specifically to the status of having the responsibilities of a biological father with respect to a particular child or children. With roughly 40% of all U.S. births currently to women who are unmarried, the question of paternity may be important when it comes to establishing parental rights and responsibilities, which are governed by state law. If you are currently dealing with this type of family law issue, you can consult our attorneys at Rowsey & Stelter for assistance. We have diligently helped numerous individuals in Atlanta and beyond, including Roswell, Milton, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, and Johns Creek.

PATERNITY ISSUES

If a couple is married at the time a child is conceived or born, Georgia law will presume that the husband of the mother is the biological father of the child. This presumption remains in place even if a couple that is married at the time a baby is conceived obtain a divorce before the child is born, or the couple marry after the child is conceived. However, in other circumstances, paternity may be more difficult to establish.

When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother and father can voluntarily sign an acknowledgement of paternity, which follows a specific legal format and is recorded with the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Alternatively, certain parties—namely, the child, the mother, the putative father, certain relatives caring for the child, or the Georgia Department of Human Resources—can try to establish paternity through a court proceeding.

When the parents are unmarried, only the mother automatically has parental rights. This is so even if a man’s name or Social Security Number is listed on a child’s birth certificate. Without a specific finding of paternity, the presence of the father’s name or Social Security Number on the birth certificate merely creates a presumption of paternity in any proceeding to establish paternity, which the putative father must then disprove.

Paternity carries with it the obligation to support the child financially. However, it does not give the father any specific rights to the child insofar as enabling the father to obtain custody or even visitation. If paternity is established through a court proceeding, however, the court has discretion to grant a father visitation rights if the court believes that visitation is in the best interests of the child.

If, after paternity is established, the father wants to obtain any custodial or other parental rights to a child born out of wedlock, the father must legitimate the child. While legitimation does not automatically give the father any custodial rights, it does allow the father the right to seek custody or visitation, particularly in cases where the mother is unable to care for the child for one reason or another, including cases in which the mother dies. Legitimation also allows a child the right to inherit from or through the father, and vice versa, and it further grants the child the right to access the father’s medical history and that of his family.

DISCUSS YOUR CHILD SUPPORT CONCERNS WITH AN ATLANTA ATTORNEY

Whether you are a mother seeking child support from a child’s biological father, a father seeking to establish paternity or legitimation, or a man seeking to challenge a paternity claim in Atlanta, you can contact one of the child support lawyers at Rowsey & Stelter for advice and representation. For over two decades, we have helped numerous clients work through family law issues in Georgia courts. For a free initial consultation on your paternity matter, call us at 770-993-5317, or use our online form to set up your appointment. We serve clients throughout DeKalb, Cobb, and Fulton Counties.

Paternity & Legitimation Lawyer

The word paternity simply means “fatherhood,” but in law it refers specifically to the status of having the responsibilities of a biological father with respect to a particular child or children. With roughly 40% of all U.S. births currently to women who are unmarried, the question of paternity may be important when it comes to establishing parental rights and responsibilities, which are governed by state law. If you are currently dealing with this type of issue, you can consult our firm for assistance. He has diligently helped numerous individuals in the Roswell area with paternity and legitimation issues. Whether you are a father involved in a child custody battle or you are seeking visitation rights through legitimation, you can trust us to provide knowledgeable and compassionate representation so that you obtain the most favorable outcome in your paternity case.

Paternity Issues

Paternity issues can be complex, and it often takes an experienced paternity lawyer to help you navigate the court system. If a couple is married at the time a child is conceived or born, Georgia law will presume that the husband of the mother is the biological father of the child. This presumption remains in place even if a couple that is married at the time a baby is conceived obtain a divorce before the child is born, or the couple marry after the child is conceived. However, in other circumstances, paternity may be more difficult to establish.

When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother and father can voluntarily sign an acknowledgement of paternity, which follows a specific legal format and is recorded with the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Alternatively, certain parties—namely, the child, the mother, the putative father, certain relatives caring for the child, or the Georgia Department of Human Resources—can try to establish paternity through a court proceeding.

When the parents are unmarried, only the mother automatically has parental rights. This is so even if a man’s name or Social Security Number is listed on a child’s birth certificate. Without a specific finding of paternity, the presence of the father’s name or Social Security Number on the birth certificate merely creates a presumption of paternity in any proceeding to establish paternity, which the putative father must then disprove.

Paternity carries with it the obligation to support the child financially. However, it does not give the father any specific rights to the child insofar as enabling the father to obtain custody or even visitation. If paternity is established through a court proceeding, however, the court has discretion to grant a father visitation rights if the court believes that visitation is in the best interests of the child.

Legitimation Can Establish A Father’s Rights

After paternity is established, if the father wants to obtain any custodial or other parental rights to a child born out of wedlock, the father must legitimate the child. While legitimation does not automatically give the father any custodial rights, it does allow the father the right to seek custody or visitation, particularly in cases where the mother is unable to care for the child for one reason or another, including cases in which the mother dies. Legitimation also allows a child the right to inherit from or through the father, and vice versa, and it further grants the child the right to access the father’s medical history and that of his family.

Whether you are a mother seeking child support from a child’s biological father, a father seeking to establish paternity or legitimation, or a man seeking to challenge a paternity claim in Atlanta, you can contact one of the child support lawyers at Rowsey & Stelter for trusted legal counsel and strong representation. For over two decades, we have helped clients work through family law issues in Georgia courts.

For a free initial consultation on your paternity matter, call us at 770-993-5317, or use our online form to set up your appointment. We serve clients throughout DeKalb, Cobb, and Fulton Counties.

Our Client Reviews

Rowsey & Stelter, Attorneys at Law

4.4 / 5.0

Based on 7 reviews

Chris Smith

Tom did an excellent job setting up my LLC for my new business recently. I was in a situation where I needed the LLC formed quickly and Tom and his team were able to work on a very short deadline. Highly recommended!

GAAW Wright

Tom has been our attorney for many years. He has been with us through thick and thin. He has successfully handled all our queries and cases with patience and understanding. We highly recommend Tom!

Corey Rennolds

At all times for the duration of my case, Tom demonstrated professionalism, confidence, and honesty. At no point was I pressured to make any one decision over another, but Tom did his best to inform me about the consequences and benefits of all of my options. If he did not know some specific detail regarding my case, he made the effort to find out. Tom instantly exudes trustworthiness and was always in steady contact. I would recommend his services to anyone.

Justina Allen

I met Tom over 10 years ago after settling in Roswell with my family. I have learned over the years that Tom is a man of high integrity, genuine and extremely knowledgeable in his field. Along with being honest, he is a straight shooter and will let you know where you stand. He will provide you with personal attention you don’t get at bigger firms and will go the extra mile. As legal matters can be frightening to deal with, Tom will guide you through the process and get you the results you need.

Rowsey & Stelter, Attorneys at Law

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Roswell, GA 30075

(770) 993-5317

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