Legitimation And Paternity

Why A Couple Or Father May Seek Legitimation

There is a difference between legitimation and paternity. A child’s biological father may have his name on the birth certificate. However, in Georgia, if the couple is not married at the time of the birth, then the biological father will not have automatic visitation or custody rights once the couple separates.

In Georgia, a father must prove both paternity and legitimacy. The legal process for this is called legitimation.

The Difference Between Paternity And Legitimation

I am Georgia family law attorney Eileen Thomas. The dissolution of a relationship can be emotionally draining, scary and confusing. I work with people who want to resolve their issues in a civil and respectful way. I can help you ensure that family relationships stay “whole” even after a breakup. A DNA test can prove the paternity of the child and required child support payments be made. However, in Georgia, a DNA test will not necessarily give a father visitation or custody rights. 

In Georgia, a man who is married to a women who gives birth is recognized as the father of that child. However, if the parents are unmarried and separate, then the father will have to prove paternity and take legal steps to make his relationship to the child “legitimate.” Once a father proves he is the legitimate parent, he then has the same parental rights as if he were married to the child’s birth mother. 

  • Paternity is the process of proving a man is a child’s biological father.
  • Legitimation is the process for a child’s birth father to have legal parenting rights.
  • Legitimation is the legal way for a father to show the court he wants a meaningful, parental relationship with the child. 

In Georgia, a man can establish legitimacy in two ways: marry the mother of the child and then recognize the child as his, or file a petition for legitimation with the court. A mother may or may not consent to this. If the mother does not consent, more steps will be required. 

Why Legitimation Is Important In Georgia

Legitimation can be very useful when fathers want to be integral and lasting part of their child’s life. After the legitimation process, the father can be listed on the child’s birth certificate, request parenting time, and leave or inherit property, money and other assets from that child. Paternity proves that a man is a child’s biological father. Legitimation gives a man father’s rights.

Work With An Attorney Who Can Help

Legitimation is a legal process with several steps. Work with an attorney who can guide you to what is in the best interest of the child and your family. Legal processes do not have to be contentious, aggressive or emotionally difficult. I offer a dignified and civil approach to resolving family law matters. Contact me, attorney Eileen Thomas, at my firm Eileen Thomas, LLC. Call 678-813-1895 or contact me by email. I handle family law matters in Atlanta and northern Georgia.