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In Georgia, if you have a child out of wedlock, just being on the birth certificate and acknowledging your desire to be the father of your child is not enough. Georgia requires a father to legitimize their child. The state requires you to petition the court and ask to be recognized as the legal father and legitimize your child – essentially allowing your child to inherit and be declared legally your legitimate offspring. Legitimation not only protects the rights of the father but preserves the rights of the child.
Petition for Paternity
Until the father seeks this relief from the court he does not have any rights of custody or visitation and will not be recognized as the legal father. This will involve a filing of a Petition for Paternity and Legitimation. The father will first have to establish paternity through a DNA test and if he is the biological father he can seek to have his legal rights established. A child born out of wedlock who is not the biological child of the man seeking a legitimation cannot be legitimated.
Many biological fathers who are paying child support, are shocked to discover that they have no legal parental rights in the State of Georgia. The contradiction is that after paternity is established and the father is determined to be the biological father the state will establish and enforce child support.
The mother can fight this petition and if it’s determined that you have not exercised your opportunity or are unfit you may not be legitimated. At The Law Office of Sean Whitworth, we highly recommended that you obtain counsel and seek your full legal rights as the legally recognized father as soon after the child is born as possible.