The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Georgia

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-1

The 'biological father' is a person who impregnated the birth parent resulting in the birth of the child. A 'biological parent' means a birth parent or the genetic other parent.

The 'legal father' is a person who has not surrendered or had terminated their rights to a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • The person has legally adopted the child.
  • The person was married to the child's birth parent at the time the child was born or within the usual period of gestation unless parentage was disproved by a final order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • The person married the legal birth parent of the child after the child was born and recognized the child as their own unless parentage was disproved.
  • The person has legitimated the child by a final order pursuant to § 19-7-22.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-11-9(d)(1); 19-7-46.1

There is established within the Department of Human Services a putative father registry. The putative father registry shall include the following two types of registrations:

  • Persons who acknowledge parentage of a child or children before or after birth in a signed writing
  • Persons who register to indicate the possibility of parentage without acknowledging parentage

Registrants shall be informed that this registration may be used to establish an obligation to support the child or children and to provide notice of adoption proceedings or proceedings to terminate the rights of a genetic parent who is not a legal parent but that registration without further action does not enable the registrant to prevent an adoption or termination of their rights by objecting. All registrants shall be asked to provide information regarding changes in their addresses.

The appearance of the name or Social Security number of the other parent, entered with their written consent, on the birth certificate of the child from the vital records department of another State or the registration of the other parent, entered with their written consent, in the putative father registry of this State shall constitute a prima facie case of establishment of parentage, and the burden of proof shall shift to the putative other parent to rebut such in a proceeding for the determination of parentage.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code §§19-7-22; 19-7-43; 19-7-46

The genetic parent of a child born out of wedlock may render their relationship with the child legitimate by petitioning the superior court of the county of residence of the child's birth parent or other party having legal custody or guardianship of the child. A legitimation petition shall set forth the name, age, and sex of the child; the name of the birth parent; and, if the genetic parent desires the name of the child to be changed, the new name. If the birth parent is alive, they shall be named as a party and shall be served and provided an opportunity to be heard. If there is a legal parent who is not the genetic parent, that person shall be named as a party by the petitioner and shall be served and provided an opportunity to be heard.

Upon the filing of a legitimation petition, and after a hearing for which notice was provided to all interested parties, the court may issue an order declaring the genetic parent's relationship with the child to be legitimate, provided that the order is in the best interests of the child. The order shall specify the name by which the child shall be known.

In any case in which the parentage of a child has not been established, the court may order the parents and the child to submit to genetic tests. Such motion, if made by a party, shall be supported by a sworn statement alleging parentage and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties or denying parentage and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties.

There shall exist a rebuttable presumption of parentage of a child born out of wedlock if scientifically credible genetic testing has been performed that establishes at least a 97 percent probability of parentage.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-11-9(d)(1); 19-7-46.1

A voluntary acknowledgment of parentage is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment prior to the date of the support order, any other order adjudicating parentage, or 60 days from the signing of the agreement, whichever is earlier. Recording the information in the putative father registry shall constitute a legal determination of parentage for purposes of establishing a future order for support and other matters under § 19-7-51. Acknowledgment of parentage shall establish the genetic parent, as such term is defined in § 19-7-22, but shall not constitute a legal determination of legitimation pursuant to § 19-7-22.

After the 60-day rescission period, the signed voluntary acknowledgment of parentage may be challenged in court based only on fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the person challenging the acknowledgment. The legal responsibilities of any signatory, including child support obligations, arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-7-46.1

A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment prior to the date of the support order, any other order adjudicating paternity, or 60 days from the signing of the agreement, whichever is earlier. Recording the information in the putative father registry shall constitute a legal determination of paternity for purposes of establishing a future order for support and other matters under § 19-7-51. Acknowledgment of paternity shall establish the biological father, as such term is defined in § 19-7-22, but shall not constitute a legal determination of legitimation pursuant to § 19-7-22.

After the 60-day rescission period, the signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the person challenging the acknowledgment. The legal responsibilities of any signatory, including child support obligations, arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-11-9(e)

The information that is obtained by the department shall only be available to the following:

  • A governmental department, board, commission, bureau, agency, or political subdivision of any State for purposes of locating an absent parent or putative other parent to establish or to enforce the person's obligation of support, of enforcing a child custody determination, or of enforcing any State or Federal law with respect to the unlawful taking or restraint of a child
  • The department, a licensed child-placing agency, or a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia in response to a request for information for purposes of locating an other parent who is not the legal parent to provide notice of adoption proceedings or a proceeding to terminate the rights of a genetic parent who is not a legal parent