A harsh reality many fathers face in Georgia is finding out they may not have any parental rights over their child. In Georgia, the biological father of a child or children is not considered that child’s legal parent unless legal action is taken. Meaning, if two adults are not married when a child is born, the father of the child is not the legal guardian. Likewise, if a child is born and the biological father does not act to ‘legitimate’ his rights, the father is not considered to be the child’s legal guardian. 

Unfortunately for some, this situation occurs when it’s least wanted. During a separation, , medical situation, or family tragedy, the last thing a parent may want to go through is legal tribulations regarding their parental status of their child. It is recommended the parent contact an experienced Atlanta family lawyer to begin the legitimation process. A legitimation process does not need to be a legal battle, it can be a straightforward process for both parents to agree upon. 

If you’re looking for help regarding legitimation, see our child legitimation page explaining how we can help you, and give us a call!

Commonly Asked Questions about Legitimation in Georgia

Why should I legitimate my parental rights?

Even if the biological, parental, and familial relationship between a father and child is undisputed, in the eyes of the law, the father of a child born out of wedlock might not have legal rights in the child’s life. This means the child is not the heir of the father’s estate (including assets); also the father does not have the right to claim child custody, and the father might not have the right to claim visitation rights. These things may present challenging issues in the event of either the mother or father passing away and/or other legal matters. 

What’s the difference between paternity and legitimation? 

Paternity and Legitimation are two distinct concepts under Georgia law. In a way, paternity can be viewed as a precursor to legitimation, but this is not always the case. A person can be the biological parent to a child, but that doesn’t mean they have a legal relationship with that child (i.e. legitimation). As is the case with many aspects of family law, legitimation can come down to what the court sees as the best ‘interest’ for the child’s well-being. 

What’s the process of legitimating? 

A Petition for legitimation must be submitted to the court in which the child’s legal guardian resides. After submitting this Petition the court will set a date for the hearing in which both parties will appear. The process of legitimating can be extensive and emotionally taxing. We encourage you to contact an experienced Atlanta Family Lawyer to assist in the process.

Contact Veteran Family Law Attorney V. Joy Edwards

The Edwards Law Group has over 15 years of experience practicing family law. Attorney Joy Edwards and her team dedicate their time and resources towards defending their clients and fighting on their behalf. If you have any questions regarding legitimation, paternity, or father’s rights, contact us today!