If you and your partner have a baby while married, the male is automatically considered the legal father. However, if this baby comes into the world out of wedlock, the male has no legal rights to the child even if he is the father by blood. Let us answer frequently asked questions about legitimation and how we can help you:
What is legitimation?
According to the Superior Court of Fulton County, “Legitimation is a legal action which is the only way, other than by marrying the mother of a child, that the father of a child born out of wedlock in the State of Georgia may establish legal rights to his child.”
Even if you prove your relation to the child through a DNA test, it does not grant you visitation or custody. To have those important fatherhood elements, you must first seek legitimation through the court. It’s important to note that only the birth father can seek legitimation, no one else.
What are the benefits of legitimation?
Without legitimation, the mother of the child will possess all legal rights to the child. She can make all decisions related to the child’s life without conferring with the father. The benefits of legitimation are many; here are six:
- The child will have a right to inherit from the father.
- The child-father relationship is legally bound.
- The court may determine the child should take the father’s last name.
- The father can petition for and/or assert his visitation and custody rights.
- The father will/can be listed on the birth certificate.
- The father cannot be barred from seeing the child (unless dangerous circumstances are present).
Legitimation can immensely benefit the father/child relationship, and it’s important to seek legitimation early in the child’s life if possible.
How do I start the legitimation process?
Because legitimation can cause emotions to rise, it’s important to talk to a family law attorney about the legitimation process. Your attorney will file the petition for you and talk to you about what to expect and how to proceed during this time. If you have questions about this process, don’t hesitate to contact the Eittreim Martin Cutler family law attorneys right away.