In Georgia, a child may have the father’s name on the birth certificate, but the father will have no legal rights if he was never married to the mother. Rather, the mother has sole custody and complete parental power over a child born out of wedlock. In order to establish your parental rights as a father, the court first has to determine paternity, usually through a DNA test. The process that is afforded to you under Georgia law to establish this right is known as legitimation. Often times, a man can be ordered to pay child support, yet can have no rights as a father due to quirks in the law. Legitimation can level the playing field by affording all rights to the father as if the couple was married. It is essential to obtain knowledgeable and experienced legal representation, because the ramifications and benefits of paternity actions are many. If the court determines your child to be legitimate, you can then:

  • Seek legal and/or physical custody
  • Establish your child as your inheritor, as well as inherit from your child
  • Receive child support
  • Obtain visitation arrangements
  • Obtain the right to object to potential adoptions

Additionally, a mother may contest the action by asserting that the petitioner is not the biological father or that he is unfit to be responsible as a parent. These issues will be decided by the court, based on what is in the best interests of the child involved. An Atlanta legitimation lawyer with our  firm can provide the legal support and guidance you need in presenting your case. Gaining recognition by the courts as being the legal parent of the child is a primary step in seeking visitation rights.

The attorneys at Bell & Washington can help you through a legitimation action and establish paternity of your children by filing the appropriate legitimation paper work, appear in required court hearings, and petition for the court to rule in favor of legitimizing your child. If you need legal assistance in petitioning the courts for legitimation and in presenting your case in an effective manner, an Atlanta family lawyer at Bell & Washington LLP can help. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our firm is dedicated to helping individuals seek and obtain their legal rights and benefits as parents. There are no fees or obligations for an initial consultation and we would be delighted to speak with and assist you. Call us today at 404.437.6641 for a free consultation.