By definition in family law proceedings, legitimation is the process that a man must go through to establish legal parenthood and obligation for a child that he fathered with a woman he was not married to at the time of the child’s birth. If the biological parents of a child are married at the time of birth, legal rights and parenthood are automatically granted. A father must go through the legitimation process to be granted legal rights only if the child was born out of wedlock.
Legitimation helps to provide the child(ren) and fathers with several legal rights and benefits. The child(ren) gain the right to inherit the father’s estate and assets. Furthermore, the father’s full medical history can be revealed to his child(ren). . The child(ren) also gain the right to sue in the case of the father’s wrongful death. The father gains full legal rights as a parent to make decisions regarding the child’s well-being. The father, in turn, accepts full parental legal obligations to support and care for the child.
· State laws differ on the procedures for legitimation of a child. In the state of Georgia, the completion of a single form acknowledges paternity and provides legitimation as long as both parents agree.
Courts cannot decide issues of custody in a Georgia legitimation proceeding. While the father does have an equal right to custody once he legitimates the child, he must still bring a petition for custody in a separate action. The exceptions to this rule are if the mother consents to consideration of custody, if there is no other legal guardian of the child, or if the mother is deceased.
As with other matters involving children, legitimation in Georgia can be difficult. It is always a good idea to have an experienced family lawyer on your side. The Moore Law Firm of Griffin,Georgia would like to help guide you with the legitimation process. Please keep in mind that state laws are ever changing, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Contact us today, our number is (770)584-0911.