In contrast to a legitimation action in which the biological father files the petition, in a paternity action, the mother or the Department of Human Resources may file a petition for paternity. However, the issues of name change, visitation, and custody cannot be determined by the Court when the paternity petition is brought by the Department of Human Resources, as only the issue of child support may be addressed.
Importantly, when a mother counterclaims for paternity in a legitimation action filed by the father, the action is converted into a paternity suit. In such a consolidated action, there is no right to a jury trial on the issue of child support, whereas either parent may demand a jury trial on the issue of child support after a petition for legitimation is granted in a legitimation action. Our attorneys understand the important differences between legitimation, paternity, and related actions and will competently help out clients navigate these proceedings.
When you find yourself trying to establish the paternity of a child, let the experienced family lawyers at Thompson, Meier & King help you fight for you. Contact us at either of our Canton or Blue Ridge offices, providing family law services to all of North Georgia.