When unmarried couples have a child, the father is often named on the birth certificate. You may believe this action establishes your child’s paternity, but it does not. Unless the parents marry or the father legally acknowledges paternity, the child has only one legal parent: the mother. Therefore, the father will not have the legal rights or responsibilities of parenthood until he gets an “order of legitimation” and establishes his legal rights.
Contacting a local child custody attorney can provide you with clarity and valuable guidance when you have questions about legitimation or paternity. A Cherokee County paternity lawyer from the Atlanta Divorce Law Group is ready to help parents establish their children’s parentage. Additionally, if you are a father who wants to dispute a paternity action, we can explain the process of proving you are not a child’s father.
A paternity action is a request for a family court order establishing that a particular man is a child’s father. Paternity does not give a father custody or visitation rights, but it does impose an obligation to pay child support.
When a mother files a petition to establish paternity and the man contests it, Georgia courts will order both adults and the child to take a genetic test to confirm their biological relationship.
Legitimization is required when a father wants the legal right to parent a child, not just pay child support. This is the only procedure that bestows full parental rights on a father who has never married a child’s mother.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-7-22 allows a father to petition the family court system to legitimize his child. He could seek visitation, parenting time, or custody in the legitimation petition. The child’s mother could contest that legitimation either by claiming a man is not the child’s father or that he has waited too long to show an interest in the child. Georgia family courts will consider whether a father’s entry into his child’s life is in the child’s best interest and decide accordingly. A Cherokee County attorney can represent fathers who want to take this action.
The Atlanta Divorce Law Group’s Cherokee County paternity lawyers understand resolving legitimation issues can be confusing—and emotionally taxing—for everyone involved. By working with our dedicated team, you can rest assured that you and your child’s best interests will be a top priority.
Whether you want to establish or dispute paternity, get in touch with our firm today for trusted guidance.