Child Legitimation Atlanta is Required in Georgia
Most people don’t realize that Georgia requires the father of a child born out of wedlock to formally legitimate this child. This process actually involves a formal law suit in which the parties seek relief from the Superior Court in the county of the mother. Because of this lack of information and/or because of the cost in both financial resources and time many fathers neglect to make their children legitimate, never realizing they do not have legal rights regarding this child. This poses interesting questions for the parties. Obviously the father has an incentive to have his legal status granted, but if he is not motivated to go through this process is it beneficial for the mother to force the issue?
Most legitmation actions occur when the mother seeks formal child support, at which time the father usually seeks to have his legal status and visitation granted. However, if the father is unable to pay a great deal of support or the mother does not need the support is it beneficial for her to discuss this matter with the father who has no legal rights nor made any attempt to be part of the child’s life?
This is a personal question for the parents, but in Georgia if a father goes a year without paying support or exercising his opportunity interest his parental rights can be terminated through adoption by a step parent. In essence, a new man who wants to be the father to the child can petition the court. Many of my female client’s are faced with the choices that Georgia’s legitimation statutes provide. You see, the mother in Georgia has all of the legal rights and the unwed father has none. The mother is in complete control of the raising of the child, where she lives, who she lives with, what schools, doctors and activities the child participates in; she does not need to share or seek the advice of the other parent.
When the father legitmates he establishes his legal rights and will have a say in the above as well as visitation. On the one hand the mother, when deciding to seek support and/or discussing this issue with the father of the child, must realize that she will be sharing the raising of this child, she will be dropping her child off every other weekend to visit their father; on the other hand, she will be raising this child alone and the child may never know their father.
Understand that legitimation is the right of the father and he can bring this action on his own; however, if he the type of man who does not want to bring this action nor is involved with his child the mother may want to consider whether she brings the topic up through discussion or through a petition for formal child support.