You’d probably be very surprised to know that even if your name is on a birth certificate, you still don’t have rights in Georgia such as visitation or custody. In Georgia, paternity is not enough to give you father’s rights. You must also prove legitimacy, a process called legitimation.
Even if you take a DNA test that proves you’re the father of the child, it’s not enough to give you father’s rights. It will be enough, however, to have the court compel you to pay child support.
Family Matters Law Group believes strongly in fighting for a father’s rights, and that means you need to know the basics of legitimation. Let’s take a look at what the legitimation process in Georgia is and why it is so important.
If you are married in Georgia and you have a baby, the court automatically recognizes you as the father of that child. However, if you are unmarried and have a baby out of wedlock, you need to legitimate your relationship with the child. By proving you are a legitimate parent, you earn the same rights as if you were a married father.
The first part of the process is proving paternity, that you are the biological father. Legitimation is the second half of the process to procure father’s rights in Georgia. Through this process, you show the court that you have or desire to have, a meaningful father-child relationship.
In Georgia, you can establish legitimacy in a couple of ways. You can marry the mother of the child and recognize the child as yours or you can file a Petition for Legitimation with the court.
With a petition to the court, if the mother consents, the process should go very quickly. However, in case of a contested legitimation, you can expect a slower process. This is definitely a time when you need an experienced family law attorney on your side.
As stated above, legitimation establishes a legal father-child relationship, thus opening the door to pursue a father’s rights case. But, it also has several other effects, including:
As you can see, the legitimation process in Georgia is very important. You can prove you are the biological father all day long, but in the state of Georgia, unless you legitimize, you will have no father’s rights.
If you are fighting a paternity or legitimation battle, you don’t have to go it alone. A caring, experienced family law attorney with expertise in father’s rights cases can make a huge difference and help you navigate through landmines that can derail your case.
In Henry, Clayton and Fayette counties (as well as across the Atlanta metro area), Family Matters Law Group has been fighting for fathers for many years. Let us help you. It starts by arranging a consultation via our online contact form. We want to hear your story.