Is DNA testing useful?
A DNA test is very effective in determining the biological parentage of the child. It is affordable and easy to do, involving a swab of cheek cells from both the possible parent and the child. The result is usually available in a short time.
Can I get some support for my child even though I am not married to the father of my child?
Yes, it is possible to obtain child support through a court order, perhaps through a paternity suit.
Can I get visitation or custody, even though I was not married to the mother, and am not on the birth certificate?
The law allows you to request such rights through a legitimation suit; in such a case, the court is likely to also establish the child’s name, from whom he or she may inherit, and child support.
I want to provide for my child, but I am not the child’s biological father. Should I agree to a child support order?
That is a personal decision. But if you know that the child is not yours, it will be very difficult to undo such an order. In the event there is no child support order, you can still elect to support the child, voluntarily, but even then, you may well be setting a precedent which a court will follow should you change your mind later. The best suggestion (next to consulting with an attorney), is to carefully consider the long term and to reach an agreed upon arrangement regarding support, time spent with the child and all other issues, if indeed you desire to be a part of the child’s life. A lawyer can help you determine how best to achieve these goals, either through an adoption, a legitimation proceeding, a custody case or any of a number of other options.
I believe that the child I have been paying child support for is not my biological child. What should I do?
The worst thing you can do is do nothing, in part because the court may view your inactivity as acceptance of the situation. You should consider DNA testing. A lawyer can discuss this with you in detail and properly advise you.
I am getting a divorce, and am not sure that a child born during my marriage is my biological child. My Wife wants me to agree to a final child support order. Would I be wise to do so?
Probably not. Child support is a very significant commitment, and a Court Order including child support is hard (but not necessarily impossible) to change. If you doubt that you are a child’s biological parent, find out as soon as possible, and do not agree to a final child support order without insisting on a DNA test, just to "get along".
Will the Courts award back child support for the time I raised the child prior to getting a child support order?
In Georgia, some expenses involved in birthing and raising a child may be available, but back child support is generally not available.
Will the Court allow me to stop paying child support, even though I have paid child support, knowing that the child I am paying toward is not my biological child?
Perhaps not. Although Courts are sympathetic to parents who are surprised, or who have been deceived by their spouses, it is much harder to reverse a child support order where the parent appears to have accepted and known that the child was not his biological issue but decided to pay anyway.