Definition of a PA
Under Georgia law, an acknowledgment or determination of paternity establishes the biological condition of being a father. However, it does not establish a legal relationship between the father and child that offers custody or visitation rights.
Establishing paternity for a child in Georgia may be done in one of the following ways:
- The child’s parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child’s birth;
- Unwed parents sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Form at:
a. the hospital when the child is born, or later at either
b. the State Office of Vital Records in Atlanta or the Vital Records Office in the county where the child was born
- Court order (divorce decree, separation agreement, or other judicial or administrative order).
(for previously completed PAs only)
What you need to know:
According to Rule 511-1-3-.08, the last name of a child will be entered on the birth certificate based on the following rules:
The last name of the child will be the last name of the father in the following cases:
- If the mother is married to the father either at the time of conception or at the time of birth, then the last name of the mother's husband will be entered, unless paternity has been determined otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction.
- If the mother is not married to the father either at the time of conception or at the time of birth, then the name of the father will be entered only if he and the mother have signed a written consent.
- If a court of competent jurisdiction has issued an order determining the paternity of the child, then the last name of the father will be entered in with the order of the court.
In all other cases, the last name of the child will be the legal last name of the mother at the time of birth as designated by the mother. The parents may designate a last name that is not the legal last name of the mother or father, if that last name is chosen in accordance with a legitimate cultural naming practiced in the nation of origin of one or both parents.
However, no portion of the child's name as entered on the birth certificate will include any number, symbol, or other non-identifying name information, nor will it include any word or term that constitutes an obscenity in any language.
When evidence is presented reflecting a legal change of status by adoption of a person born in this State, legitimation, paternity determination, or acknowledgement of paternity, a new birth certificate may be completed to reflect the name change. The existing birth certificate and the evidence upon which the new birth certificate was based will be placed in a special file. Such file will not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the State Registrar or designee for purposes of properly administering the Vital Records program.
Note: By completing a paternity acknowledgment, the father will automatically be added to Georgia’s Putative Father Registry.
Page last updated 1/22/24