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JONES v. ALFONE (two cases).
CLARKE, Chief Justice.
Paternity. Douglas Superior Court. Before Judge Noland.
The trial court dismissed this paternity action for lack of jurisdiction under OCGA 19-7-40 because the child is not a resident of Georgia. Appellant filed both an application for a discretionary appeal and a notice of appeal. The application was granted, and the appeal has gone forward under two numbers.
Appellant, now a resident of Ohio, brought this paternity action November 1, 1990, against her former employer in Douglas County, the county of his residence. The court dismissed the action at the rule nisi hearing December 6, 1990, in response to appellee's oral motion on the ground that the child is not a resident of Georgia. The court relied upon this court's case of Meredith v. Meredith, 257 Ga. 458 (360 SE2d 586) (1987), in its decision to dismiss the action.
We find that the court erred in dismissing the case. OCGA 19-7-40 does not limit paternity actions in Georgia to cases in which the child is a Georgia resident. Rather, the section broadens the jurisdiction to allow an action on behalf of a child who is a resident against a putative father who is a non-resident. This construction is supported by 19-7-41, which provides for service of a non-resident defendant without resort to the Long Arm Statute and 19-7-42, which requires venue in Georgia even if the putative father is a non-resident.
The holding of Meredith v. Meredith, supra, upon which the trial court relied, was that if neither the moving party nor the child lives in Georgia, OCGA 19-7-40 does not confer Georgia jurisdiction over a non-resident putative father. Meredith v. Meredith does not limit Georgia jurisdiction to a situation in which the child is a Georgia resident.
William M. Bristow, for appellee.
Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, Carolyn R. Gorwitz, Heidi M. Faenza, for appellant.
DECIDED MAY 15, 1991.
Thursday May 21 09:55 EDT

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