You should file a petition for paternity. This sort of petition seeks to establish a parental link between your child and his father. The purpose of a paternity action is only to seek and obtain child support. If he is wise, he will seek a legitimation in response. This will seek to establish parental rights for him, such as visitation rights and possibly decision-making authority.
As I tell fathers in these situations, "She is seeking child support, which she will very likely get. Therefore, you ought to at least get something for your money - the right to see your child." Until he obtains a court order legitimizing his relationship, he is now and remains a "stranger to the child" in the eyes of the law. Under the law, right now he has as much right to see your child as I do.
Now, he may challenge that he is actually the father, despite your four year relationship. He may ask for a DNA test.
Another common tactic is to attempt to take your child from you. Once the legitimation occurs, and he is a legal parent, he has every right to attempt to obtain primary custody of your child. A judge will have to decide whether your child is better off in your care or his. Most judges see an attempt to take custody in order to avoid paying child support a mile away. Still, the factors to consider are many.
You ought to consult an attorney experienced in these matters. DHS is one option. if you are in Atlanta, there is also Atlanta Legal Aid. In Gwinnett County, there is Gwinnett Legal Aid. You may qualify for free or reduced cost legal assistance. I encourage you to look into these programs. Good luck.
Unless he has legitimated the child he has no right to take the child or even see the child. You have every right to make him pay child support, and should do so. Note that he can petition a court for legitimization but not paying support looks bad for him in such a case. Should he do so, you need a lawyer.
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I agree with Mr. Ashman above. But I would add that in the event he does file an action for legitimation and custody, you would want to be in as stable an employment and housing situation as possible. So start right now trying to get a long term job and having you and your son living independently and in as nice a home environment as possible. If he files for legitimation, there is no question that you need to hire an attorney.
He has a duty under the law, all parents do, to support his child, even if he has not legitimated the child. Don't wait until he files to legitimate the child (which he many never do) to seek child support for your son. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can apply for assistance to collect child support through DHS, the Division of Child Support Services. Here is the website and contact information:
Application for Services: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/application-services
Atlanta Division of Child Support Services (120)
1526 East Forrest Ave. Suite 300
East Point, GA 30344
Phone: 1-877-GA DHS GO (1-877-423-4746)
Best of luck to you.
This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on this answer in prosecuting or defending against any criminal or civil legal action. Speak to an attorney in your area about how to protect yourself and your interests.
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