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a father dropping his son off at school

In light of Father’s Day approaching on June 20, we wanted to share helpful answers to frequently asked questions about legitimation. There are roughly 1.5 million births occurring each year in America to unmarried women, resulting in the same number of fathers not having legal rights to their children. Allow us to shed light on this important topic by answering four FAQs:

Is there a difference between paternity and legitimation?

If you have a child out of wedlock in Georgia, you have two routes to choose from regarding claiming the child as your own – paternity and legitimation. Paternity establishes the biological, father/child relationship but it gives you no legal right to the child. Legitimation validates the relationship in the eyes of the law, giving you the right to request custody, visitation, etc.

Does a father have rights if he is listed on the birth certificate?

No, a father does not have legal rights even if he is listed on the birth certificate. However, your name on the birth certificate does allow the mother to seek child support from you. Your name on the birth certificate – given voluntarily, not covertly by the mother – is a recognition of paternity even if you have not performed a paternity test.

Can anyone file for legitimation?

No, only the presumed-to-be biological father can file for legitimation in Georgia. Typically, the biological father will file for legitimation in the county in which the child lives.

What happens if the mother contests the father’s pursuit for legitimation?

If a mother contests the father’s pursuit for legitimation stating that he isn’t the father, a paternity test will need to be done, and it would be wise to partner with a family law attorney. A skilled attorney can guide you through this stressful event to fight for the best possible result.

Partner with Kicklighter Law for Your Family Law Needs

Whether you’re pursuing a divorce, adoption, legitimation, or any other family law need, Kicklighter Law is ready to guide you toward the best possible outcome! Talk to us today about your case: 912-754-6003