January 2024
Supporting Child-Friendly Justice in Georgia

With the efforts of Rights Georgia and the support of the EWMI-implemented USAID Rule of Law Program, another precedent of child-friendly justice was established in the case of a minor child whose biological father initially evaded caregiving and responsibility.

The case involved a five-year-old child whose birth certificate lacked information about her father. The child's biological father only assumed responsibility after paternity was established through a court-ordered medical examination, litigated by Rights Georgia. Seeking legal assistance, the child's mother approached the organization, facing economic challenges that prevented her from independently conducting the necessary tests to determine the child's paternity.

On February 13, 2023, Rights Georgia submitted a lawsuit to the Tbilisi City Court, requesting the establishment of paternity, amendments to the birth certificate, and the imposition of alimony. The legal battle highlighted the economic struggles faced by single mothers, especially when essential evidence such as DNA testing incurs substantial costs.

Despite the financial obstacles, the lawyers of Rights Georgia filed a petition on May 1, 2023, arguing that the alleged father should cover the expenses for the paternity examination. Through their efforts, Judge Maya Kutkhashvili of the Tbilisi City Court agreed that assigning the costs to the father was crucial for establishing paternity and ensuring the woman's access to justice. The judge mandated a biological examination, and the defendant was directed to prepay the associated costs with the ruling of September 29, 2023.

This landmark case serves as a precedent in safeguarding the child's best interests and upholding a high standard of child-friendly justice. Unfortunately, many single mothers face limitations in accessing justice due to the substantial costs associated with obtaining crucial evidence, especially DNA testing, leading them to forgo legal actions in numerous instances.

The Levan Samkharauli National Forensic Bureau confirmed the defendant's biological fatherhood through a relevant report, with the costs for DNA testing being covered by the defendant. On December 18, 2023, Judge Maya Kutkhashvili partially granted the claim, recognizing the defendant as the child's biological father. The necessity to change the birth certificate to indicate the defendant as the child's father was established, and the defendant was ordered to pay alimony of 300 GEL (instead of the requested 550 GEL) from the moment of filing the lawsuit until the child reaches adulthood.

"I can't put into words how emotional all of this is for me. This is the happiest day in my life since the birth of my child, as now I can demand providing my child with sufficient financial support and caregiving," exclaimed the mother, expressing her joy upon receiving the results of the biological examination.

According to Rights Georgia, this case holds particular significance for access to justice for single mothers, demonstrating the possibility of making the presumed father prepay the expenses of DNA testing. It serves as an example that single mothers are not alone in seeking justice and managing childcare despite economic challenges.