What is legitimation?
The father of a child born out of wedlock in Georgia may establish legal parental rights to his child through legitimation. Other than by marrying the mother of the child, an order of legitimation is the only way that the father of a child born out of wedlock in Georgia can be recognized as the legal father of the child. To hire S. Dixon Law for your legitimation, simply contact our office via online submit form. We offer fee-based consults and will discuss the cost of legitimation at your consult.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I am listed as the father on my child’s birth certificate, do I still need to file a petition for legitimation?
A: You must still file a petition for legitimation if you are listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate, but you were not married to the child’s mother.
Q: Where should the petition for legitimation be filed?
A: The petition for legitimation may be filed in the child’s county of residence.
Q: Who may file?
A: Only the biological father of a child may file a petition for legitimation in order to legitimate his child.
In Georgia, when a child is born out of wedlock, the father is not recognized as the legal father unless he establishes a legal relationship with the child. The first step is to confirm the paternity of the child. While this is an essential step, it is important to remember that under Georgia law, paternity establishes that a man is the biological father of a child, but does not establish the legal relationship between the father and child. However, legitimation allows the biological father to be recognized by law as the legal father when a child is born out of wedlock. Establishing paternity is also the first step in determining whether a man shall be legally liable for the support of a child.
According to O.C.G.A. §19-7-43, a petition to establish the paternity of a child may be brought by:
- The child;
- The mother of the child;
- Any relative in whose care the child has been placed;
- The Department of Human Services (Division of Child Support Services) in the name of and for the benefit of a child for whom public assistance is received or in the name of and for the benefit of a child not the recipient of public services whose custodian has applied for services for the child; or
- One who is alleged to be the father.
Although others may be able to file a paternity action, this type of petition is usually filed by the mother of the child.
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