Metro Atlanta Establishing Paternity Lawyer
Legal Rights ◦ DNA Testing
The issue of paternity comes up in several ways. A mother of a child may file an action against the alleged biological father to collect child support. She may also file criminal charges against him for non-support. The father may wish to legitimate his child and to obtain visitation privileges, or even obtain custody of the child. Likewise, a boyfriend or estranged husband may wish to contest allegations that he is the father of a child.
Discuss Your Legal Rights and Options with an Experienced Lawyer
Whether you are a mother or a purported father, contact an experienced Atlanta, Georgia, attorney to discuss your questions regarding establishing paternity or paternity actions.
Paternity issues may also arise in a divorce action where the parties are not sure of parentage. The determination of paternity is usually aided by blood or DNA testing. The most important thing to remember is that you only get one chance to litigate the issue of paternity. Once the issue is necessary to the pending litigation, it is a final determination of the issue between the parties, whether it is hotly contested, or ignored. For instance, if a party agrees to pay, pursuant to a divorce, child support for a child born to the parties during marriage, that party cannot later contest the child’s paternity.
Do Not Sign Anything Before Seeking Legal Advice
The best time to seek legal advice is before signing any papers presented by the other side, or the government. You may be signing away important legal rights. If you receive correspondence from the government or served with legal papers, seek legal advice immediately.
If you are a new mother, or expecting soon, don’t wait to seek legal advice. Blood tests are not always necessary to obtain temporary relief, and you may get some help even before the child is born, including medical costs. If, on the other hand, you are a man who has been wrongfully named as a child’s father, even an unborn child, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Setting Aside Previous Determinations of Paternity Based on DNA
Georgia law has been changed to allow the setting aside of a previous determination of paternity and any related child support awards.
If new genetic evidence is available and shows that a previous paternity determination is incorrect, a motion may be filed to set aside the prior paternity and child support determinations. This action can also relieve the party from past due payments. However, the motion must be filed within 90 days of the genetic test showing that there is a zero percent (0%) probability that the person ordered to pay support is the biological father of the child. There are numerous exceptions to this new provision and the statute should be consulted to determine a particular case’s validity. O.C.G.A.§ 19-7-54 (effective May 9, 2002)
If you wish to petition the court to set aside a paternity and child support award, this is only possible if the issue has not been previously settled with knowledge that paternity was questioned.
Domestic Partnership and Parenthood
In the case of same-sex domestic partners, there are no statutes having to do with parenthood of a non-biological parent who is a same-sex partner of a biological parent. No Georgia statute specifically allows for adoption of a child by a non-married domestic partner (same sex or opposite sex) of a biological parent, without the termination of the biological parent’s rights.
Contact Atlanta, Georgia lawyer Anthony M. Zezima, P.C. to schedule an initial consultation regarding any legal matter related to paternity, legitimation, custody, or support of children of unmarried parents.