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Legitimation

Legitimation Attorney in Macon Helps Set the Record Straight

Knowledgeable assistance for fathers seeking custody and visitation in Georgia

Georgia law recognizes the right of every child to receive support from both parents. Likewise, parents have a right to frequent, meaningful time with their child provided such contact is in the child’s best interest. However, in order for the court to recognize these rights, the parent-child relationship must be established legally. An unwed mother or a child can establish support rights through a paternity suit. But a father can only establish his rights through legitimation. At Skinner Family Law, I represent fathers in legitimation proceedings in Macon, Georgia and surrounding areas. If you are wondering how you might go about legitimating a relationship, I can provide confidential and reliable advice based on my 30 years of family law experience.

When does a parent-child relationship require legitimation?

The term “illegitimate” applied to a child has always had a ring of cruelty and unfairness to it. Of course, any child is a legitimate person, a human being worthy of respect. But what the law means is that such a child is not a legitimate heir.

Circumstances that give rise to illegitimacy include:

  • Parents unmarried when the child was conceived
  • Parents unmarried when the child was born
  • Parents remained unmarried after the child was born

If all of these factors are met, there is no proof of lineage. The adult has no duty to the child, and the child has no right of support or inheritance from the adult. Unwed mothers and their children can enforce their rights to support by getting the court to order a paternity test, and if the results are positive, issue a support order. But the only way for a father to enforce his rights to child custody or visitation is through the process of legitimation.

How legitimation works in Georgia

There are two ways that parents can legitimate a child under Georgia family law:

  • The father may file a Petition for Legitimation in court, usually the Superior Court in the county where the mother resides. The court will examine the evidence but is not bound to legitimate the child unless legitimation is in the child’s best interests.
  • Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form at the hospital where the child was born or at any Vital Records office.

If the judge decides to legitimate the child, the judge can also issue an order for child support, to change the child’s name, to have the father’s name added to the child’s birth certificate, and even grant custody or visitation to the father.

Additional advantage of legitimation

Legitimation means the child can inherit from the father along with the man’s other natural children. If a mother wants her current husband or a couple to adopt her child, then the biological father can either surrender his parental rights or file a legitimation action asking for custody of the child.

Contact a knowledgeable family law attorney for legitimation in Macon, GA

Fathers have a right to frequent and meaningful contact with their children. If you are yearning to spend time with your children, to see them grow up, and to share tender moments with them, Skinner Family Law can help you establish your rights through legitimation. Call me at 478-845-1058 or contact my Macon office online to schedule a consultation.

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Our Office
  • 501 College Street
    Suite 105
    Macon, Georgia 31201
    Phone: 478-742-7400
    Fax: 478-721-6752