If a child is born during marriage, it is presumed that the husband is the biological father of the child. Most of the time, this is the case. But what happens when the child is actually another man’s biological child? This situation arises more often than you might think. A wife may have an affair during her marriage that results in the birth of a child. A husband and wife may be separated for a significant period of time, but not divorced, when the wife moves on to a new relationship and becomes pregnant. In these cases, it may not be totally clear which man is legally responsible for and has parental rights to the child. If these are the circumstances in your case, you cannot simply sit on the issue. You must take steps, either in the divorce, or otherwise, to remedy this circumstance, because under Georgia law, any child born to the wife during marriage is presumed to be the husband’s child. DNA testing, by itself is irrelevant. This issue must be legally addressed immediately.
To go further, Mr. Shaw handled a case a few years ago that made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court. What the Supreme Court held was that even if, without a shadow of the doubt the husband is not the father of the child, the husband can still claim the child as his own, and defeat any parental rights claims of the biological father; on the other hand, the husband can allow a paternity or legitimation case to proceed forward, so that he is legally not considered the legal father.
These cases are not procedurally simple. If you are the biological father trying to legitimate, the mother trying to either defend against the biological father becoming the legal father, or trying to make the biological father the legal father, or you are the husband, obtain legal help immediately. No hyperbole presented in this bit of advice. It is complicated, and it is an extremely critical issue to resolve properly.
The scenarios described above, and many more similar to those scenarios, result in complex legal cases that can involve divorce, paternity, custody, visitation, and support issues, among others. There are different tactics that a man can take if he either suspects or knows that a child born during his marriage is not his biological child. DNA testing is a widely available mechanism for definitively proving parentage of a child. The circumstances under which DNA testing is ordered, however, tend to be fact-dependent and differ according to the circumstances.
The available options also depend on whether there are already court orders in place regarding the child, such as temporary orders during a divorce or even a final divorce judgment. In those cases, in addition to establishing that you are not the child’s biological father, there are court orders that you will need to attempt to overturn. This is not an easy procedure, and you will need the assistance of an experienced Georgia parentage lawyer who can help you navigate through the process.
Shaw Law Firm LLC has handled countless legal proceedings involving all aspects of divorce and parentage. Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.