Father’s Rights: Understanding Legitimation and Paternity in Georgia

Being a father is a great responsibility, and regarding your legal rights, the state of Georgia has some unique rules. Today, we will explore the concept of legitimation and paternity in Georgia and how it impacts a father’s rights.

If you’re concerned that your rights as a father are being violated, contact an Atlanta legitimation & paternity attorney today. We’ll review your child custody, child visitation, or child support case and ensure you’re treated fairly.

What Is Legitimation?

Legitimation is a legal process by which a father can establish his parental rights for a child born out of wedlock. Legitimation gives a child all the rights and privileges they’re entitled to as if they were born to married parents. In Georgia, the mother automatically has custody and control of a child born out of wedlock, but the father has no legal rights unless the father files for legitimation.

Why Is Legitimation Important?

Legitimation is crucial because it establishes legal rights for fathers over their children. Without legitimation, a father has no legal say in making decisions about their child’s welfare or upbringing, including education, religion, medical care, and other important matters.

If you’re concerned about your rights as a parent in the Peach State, contact an Atlanta father’s rights lawyer and have experienced legal help on your side.

How to Legitimate a Child in Georgia

To legitimate a child in Georgia, the father must file a petition for legitimation in the Superior Court of the county where the child lives. The father must also provide notice to the mother of the child, who has the right to object to the legitimation. If the mother does not object or the court rules in favor of the father, a court order will be entered, establishing the father as the child’s legitimate father.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. In Georgia, if the child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the father. The father can acknowledge paternity by signing the birth certificate if the child is born out of wedlock. However, this acknowledgment does not establish the father’s rights in Georgia.

Why Is Paternity Important?

Paternity is necessary because it establishes a legal relationship between the father and the child. Once paternity is established, the father has a legal right to seek child custody or visitation of the child. Paternity also gives the child the right to inherit from the father and access to the father’s medical history.

How to Establish Paternity in Georgia

To establish paternity in Georgia, the father can sign the birth certificate at the hospital when the child is born. If the father does not sign the birth certificate, he can establish paternity by filing a paternity action in court. A DNA test can also establish paternity if there is a dispute or the father is unsure of his biological relationship with the child.

An Experienced Atlanta Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you are a father in Georgia, it is essential to understand the concepts of legitimation and paternity with the help of an Atlanta family law attorney. Without legitimation, a father has no legal rights to custody or visitation, regardless of whether he signed the birth certificate or acknowledged paternity.

Establishing paternity is the first step in legitimating a child and securing legal rights as a father. Fathers have an important role in their children’s lives, and protecting their legal rights to be active parents is essential.

If you’re facing a legitimation or paternity matter in the Atlanta area, contact us today at Edwards Family Law. We’ll review your case, represent you in court hearings, and protect your rights.

Author Bio

Regina Edwards is the Owner and Managing Attorney of Edwards Family Law, an Atlanta family law and estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With more than 21 years of experience practicing law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, wills, trusts, probate, and Medicaid planning.

Regina received her Juris Doctor from the Tulane School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for six years, as well as being named among the Pro Bono All Stars by the Georgia Bar Journal in 2019.

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