My question is what rights to I have as a farther of my 15 month old son. When my son was born his mother and I signed a paternity acknowledgment State of Georgia form 3940 rev7-10 . We are not married but live together what happens if she decides to leave. What should or can I do to help protect myself and my son from being separated?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Signing the birth certificate raises a presumption of paternity, but gives you no legal rights whatsoever. Since you and the mother were not married, you will need to file a petition in the Superior Court to Legitimate the child. As part of that process, you can be given joint legal and physical custody of the child. Since you and the mother are living together and getting along, now would be a good time to get this done, as she could oppose you, and possibly would, if you were not together. If it helps, you can tell her that one result of the legitimation would be that you would be able to take the child if something ever happened to her. With her on board, the process is relatively straight-forward. We have a Jefferson office, and would be glad to meet with you to discuss this at your convenience.
You need to take the form you signed to a family law attorney. Simply signing an acknowledgment of paternity does not legitimate the child. There is a legitimation form which may legitimate the child, although some attorneys believe you still need to file to legitimate. If you haven't legitimated the child, the mother has all rights, could leave, move to another state, as she would have legal custody. Again, have the documents reviewed by an attorney.