This is a frequent problem that I see quite often. Allow me to outline what is going on here, and give some pointers on how to proceed. You can also view a short video on this topic on my YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/BMAdyNqmCo0
If you are not married to the Mother of your child when your child is born in Georgia, then you are not considered a legal parent. If the parents are not married, then only the Mother is recognized under Georgia law as a legal parent. Even having your name on the birth certificate as the father does not make you the legal father.
As the only legal parent, the Mother is allowed to make all decisions about the child and to decide who gets to see or visit with the child. So, until a Court recognizes the biological father as the legal father, the Mother has the legal right to keep the child from you. I believe that all children need a strong, close relationship with both parents. So, if the Mother is not allowing any contact or visits, then the biological father needs to take affirmative action to be declared the legal father.
So how does the biological father go about being declared the legal father? The process is to file a petition of legitimation in the Superior Court in the County where the Mother lives with the child. This is a civil lawsuit. As a part of the legitimation lawsuit, the Superior Court can do a number of things: 1) declare the biological father to be the legal father, 2) award custody or visitation to the biological father, 3) set a child support amount and 4) change the child’s last name to that of the father. It is strongly recommended that you hire an attorney to assist you in this type of case.
How does a man prove that he is in fact the biological father of the child? Sometimes a DNA test will need to be completed. However, if both the Mother and the man agree that the man is in fact the biological father, then a DNA will not necessarily be required. The parties can simply agree that the man is the biological father. However, if there is any doubt about this, both parties should insist on getting a DNA test. Why? Well, if the Court determines in an order that a man is the biological father, then it can be very hard, and perhaps impossible, to later claim that you are not the father.
It is important to note that there are important reasons to be declared the legal father of a child over and above simply being able to visit with the child. First, as a legal parent, you will typically be involved in the important decisions regarding the child, like medical and educational decisions. Second, once you become the legal father, it will be easier for the child to receive any governmental benefits that would flow from you, like social security disability. Third, in the unlikely event of your death, your child will be recognized as your heir for inheritance and other purposes. For these reasons, the law is set up to encourage biological fathers to legitimate their children. I consider this an important step in being a good dad.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about legitimation or other family law issues.