Paternity and Legitimation

Last updated on April 8, 2021

We were recently asked a Paternity and Legitimation question. A Paternity action is when a father brings an action to enforce his rights to visit with a child. A Legitimation action is an action brought by a mother to make the father the legitimate legal father of the child so that the child can inherit from the father and the father will be responsible to provide child support for the child.

Can the man I first told he was the father of my child demand paternity testing now that I told him it isn’t his child?

The Answer:

I am a Georgia licensed attorney so I am only able to answer your question according to Georgia law. That being said, the law in your state might be similar. The state that will have jurisdiction (the power to decide the issues in your case) will most likely be the court in the state and county where you reside with the children. So, if you lived Atlanta Georgia, he would be required to file a Legitimation action in the Superior Court of Fulton County Georgia. Once he had filed the Legitimation in the correct state and county the court would determine:

1. Is he the Biological father;
2. is it in the best interest of the child to have him declared the legitimate (legal) father;
3. is it in the best interest of the child for the father to have visitation and if so under what circumstances;
4. what the required child support payment should be.

In most cases, unless the father is a danger to the child or has been severely abusive, the court will almost always find that it is in the best interest of the child to have a legitimate father and that he should have visitation.

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