When a child is born out of wedlock in Georgia, the father may be required
to undergo a
paternity test to prove that the child is his own. A biological connection is not
considered a legal connection to a child, however. Fathers in Georgia
will also need to use
legitimation to gain legal rights only attributed to fathers, and for the child to
eventually gain their own specialized rights later on.
After legitimation, the following rights are established:
- Child can gain inheritance from the father.
- Child can access medical history from the father and the father’s family.
- Child can be placed in a home belonging to a relative of the father.
- Father can inherit property or monies from the child.
Father can petition for
child custody rights.
Father can request or create a
Out of Wedlock & Into Legitimation
Any child that was born of while its mother and father were not married
is born out of wedlock in Georgia’s legal definition. A mother can
give birth to a child while married but married to someone known not to
be the father and the child is still considered to have been born out
of wedlock. When a child is born out of wedlock for any reason, the father
must use legitimation to gain legal parentage rights.
The child’s biological father can gain legitimation simply by marrying
the child’s biological mother, so long as she was not married to
another person at the time of the child’s birth. If it is known
that the mother’s husband is not the child’s biological father,
he does not have paternity rights but he has legitimation rights. A child’s
biological father can also complete legitimation by signing an acknowledgement
of legitimation in the hospital shortly after the child is born; this
is generally signed and filed with acknowledgement of paternity.
A biological father who does not have parentage rights due to a lack of
legitimation may find themselves in a legal contest with a father who
has legitimation but not paternity. Georgia prioritizes the importance
of legitimation over paternity in most cases, meaning a genetic connection
to a child will not supersede a legal or familial connection. Any challenge
for legitimation will be weighed against the child’s best interests,
not that of the parents.
Winning Legitimation in a Legal Contest
If you need to gain legitimation to establish the paternal rights you deserve
as a child’s father, biological or not, preparing yourself for family
law court may be optimal. With the help of our Lawrenceville family law
attorney from Fox Firm, P.C., you can create an argument that shows your
parentage will benefit your child in ways that the child’s mother
or another father could not.
Contact us online or call
770.884.7469 today to learn more.
We also serve clients throughout Gwinnett County.