Child support is a serious financial burden, and this might seem especially unfair if you are not even biologically related to the child in question. Do you really have to pay child support for a child that is not yours? How can you prove that the mother’s claims are incorrect? These are just a few examples of questions that a Georgia resident might be asking when facing the prospect of paying child support for the next 20 years or so.
The Presumption of Fatherhood
If a child is born during a marriage, Georgia family courts will assume that the husband in this relationship is the father. In some cases, this assumption is valid even if the mother marries someone after the child is born. If this paternity is presumed by the court, the husband may be ordered to pay child support to a child that is not theirs (assuming they eventually get divorced from the wife and mother).
Child Support is Linked to the Birth Certificate
Family courts may also consider the name on the birth certificate. In some cases, “fathers” may agree to have their names placed on a birth certificate despite not being fully confident about their own fatherhood. If it later becomes clear that the child is not theirs, the family court can still enforce child custody.
The Burden of Proof in a Child Paternity Dispute in Georgia
According to the Georgia Department of Human Services, the burden of proof may fall upon the father to “disprove” their own paternity of the child in question. This goes against the norm in many other legal situations, where the burden of proof lies with the accuser. Even though the mother may “accuse” a man of being the child’s father, her accusation is assumed to be correct unless the father can prove otherwise. Note that this applies in cases where the father’s name or SSN appears on the birth certificate with his written consent.
The Importance of Paternity Tests
Sometimes, the only way to realistically determine whether an individual is biologically related to the child is through a DNA test. In 2015, a new law allowed couples to carry out DNA testing before child support cases are heard by judges in Georgia family courts. In other words, if you prove that you are not the father of the child in a timely manner, you may avoid costly, time-consuming litigation altogether.
Find a Child Support Attorney in Georgia
To avoid paying child support for a child who is not yours, it makes sense to get in touch with an experienced family law attorney in Georgia at your earliest convenience. Choose Lankford & Moore Law today to get started with an action plan. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to prove that you are not the child’s father. However, it is still important to follow the correct legal steps in this scenario. Get in touch today and book a consultation to discuss this situation in more detail.