Family Matters Law Group is proud to offer Legal Snacks, short introductions to important topics in family law practice. These video introductions offer clear, concise information in order for you to gain a quick understanding of each topic. After watching each video, you’ll be in a better position to ask questions of your attorney or arrange for a consultation if you have not retained a lawyer.
This month, Edidiong Aaron from Family Matters Law Group addresses the issue of legitimation and how to maximize your chances of getting the court to recognize your claim. Let’s hear what Mrs. Aaron has to say:
Mrs. Aaron answered several key questions in this legal snack. They include:
Let’s take a closer look at these questions.
In Georgia, if you pursue a custody claim, and you are the father of the child, you will need to prove two things to the court: paternity (that you are the biological father of the child) and legitimation (that you have a meaningful relationship with the child). Without both of these, you cannot pursue your custody claim.
This is why Mrs. Aaron describes a “meaningful relationship.” You must be able to show that you play a significant role in the child’s life. The court needs to know that you will continue to be there for your child as the father. Notice also that she talks about establishing “responsibility.” The court is more likely to give you joint custody if it sees that you are stepping up and being a father who is responsible for meeting the needs of his child.
Mrs. Aaron goes all the way back to pregnancy to establish a legitimation claim. That’s right. From the minute the child is conceived, you need to start thinking about how to be a good father. Did you help out during the pregnancy? Were you there for the birth of the child? Did you promptly file a legitimation claim or did you delay? Have you had meaningful contact with the child since birth?
Bottom line is, the best time to think about legitimation is when you were thinking about bringing the child into the world to begin with.
Our last two questions go hand in hand. Mrs. Aaron gives numerous tips as to how to show that you have a meaningful relationship with your child. Are you having regular visits with the child? Are you involved? Do you go to doctor appointments, school events such as concerts, recitals, plays, or sporting events?
Also pay attention to what Mrs. Aaron says about supporting the child financially. According to the US Department of Agriculture, as of 2017, it costs $233,610 to raise a child from birth to age 17. That’s about $14,000 a year. Fathers, step up and help out.
Family Matters Law Group also wants you to document everything. Keep receipts. Record conversations. Keep notes after every visit or meeting. As Mrs. Aaron says, if there’s no documentation, it didn’t happen. Documentation is hard work, but it will pay off in court.
Thanks for watching our Legal Snack. If you have further questions about maximizing legitimation or would like to have a personal consultation with Mrs. Aaron, please call 678-545-2118. Family Matters Law Group has proudly served clients in Henry, Clayton, Fayette and Fulton counties for many years and looks forward to helping you as well.