An increasing number of Georgia children are born to unmarried parents. Fathers can have a positive and loving relationship with their children whether they are married to the mother or not. Unfortunately, that relationship can come to an abrupt halt if the mother cuts off visits or moves out of state.
Unmarried fathers in Georgia do not automatically have parental time-sharing or decision-making rights. To establish your rights as the father, you will need to establish paternity. In Georgia, this process is known as legitimation.
Until the father establishes paternity, the mother has sole custody rights for children born outside of marriage. Simply having your name on the child's birth certificate does not establish paternity in Georgia. While the mother cannot put the child up for adoption without notifying the father, the father does not otherwise have any parenting rights.
The father would have no say in important decisions such as education, medical care or religious upbringing
The father would not have the right to see the child if mother does not agree
The mother could move whenever or wherever she chooses without notifying the father
The child would not have the right to inherit if the father dies
There are two ways to establish paternity (or legitimation) in Georgia:
If the mother agrees that you are the father, the court will establish paternity without a DNA test.
If the mother does not agree you are the father, the court will order a DNA test to establish paternity.