Legitimize a Child in Georgia
Legitimizing a child born out of wedlock in Georgia requires the marriage of the child’s biological parents, or by filing a petiton to legitimize the father's right to the child in superior court within the mother's residential area.
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.
If the mother was married to someone who is not the bilogical father at the time of birth, it is known that the mother’s husband is not the child’s biological father, he does not have paternity rights, but 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.
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 visitation schedule.
What Does It Mean to Be Born Out of Wedlock?
The defintion of "wedlock" is the simple act of being married, according to Georgia's legal definition any child that is born while its mother and father are not married is born 'out of wedlock'. A mother can give birth to a child while married, but if the mother is married to someone known not to be the father the child is still considered to have been born out of wedlock. When a child is born out of wedlock for any reason, the biological father must use legitimation to gain legal parentage rights.
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.
Lawrenceville Legitimation Legal Counsel
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 Gwinnett County 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.