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Atlanta Divorce Attorney > Blog > Paternity Legitimation > What Is The Process For Legitimation In Georgia?

What Is The Process For Legitimation In Georgia?


If you do not currently have legal rights to your biological child, you may need to file a legitimation petition in order to establish your legal rights. While the terms paternity and legitimation are frequently used interchangeably, it is important to know that establishing paternity and legitimation are in fact different processes. Paternity is a process through which a person can file a petition to establish the biological father of a child, while legitimation is a process through which the child’s biological father can file a petition to establish parental rights. When the identity of the biological father of the child is in question, both paternity and legitimation are typically necessary.

If you are seeking to legitimate your status as your child’s father so that you can have parental rights to seek custody, and so that your child can inherit from you, it is necessary to go through the legitimation process. The following are the steps you will need to take.

  1. Determine If You Need to File a Legitimation Petition 

First, before you take any of the necessary steps toward legitimation, you should determine with help from your family lawyer whether legitimation is necessary. If you were married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, a legitimation petition is not necessary. However, if you recently established paternity, or if you have yet to establish paternity, legitimation will be necessary if you want to establish certain parental rights.

  1. Fill Out Your Legitimation Petition 

Once you know that the legitimation process is necessary, you will need to fill out a legitimation petition. Under Georgia law, a legitimation petition must include the biological father’s name, the name, age, and sex of the child, the name of the child’s mother, and the father’s desired last name for the child (if the father wants the child’s last name to be changed).

  1. File the Legitimation Petition in the Appropriate Court 

After filling out the legitimation petition, the biological father must file the petition. If the child’s mother is alive, the mother will be named as a party and will be served. In most cases, the father must file the legitimation petition in the Superior Court where the child’s mother currently lives, or in the county where the child’s legal guardian lives. It may be possible to file the petition in another county, but it is important to make sure you are filing the legitimation petition in the correct place by working with an Atlanta legitimation lawyer. You should also be sure to file the legitimation petition as soon as possible. Once you establish paternity, it is important to move forward with legitimation.

  1. Attend a Legitimation Hearing 

Finally, you will need to attend your legitimation hearing. At the legitimation hearing, the court will determine whether it is in the best interests of the child for the biological father petitioning for legitimation to have certain parental rights.

Seek Advice from an Atlanta Paternity and Legitimation Lawyer 

If you have questions about establishing paternity or legitimation, or if you need assistance with your legitimation petition, one of our Atlanta paternity legitimation lawyers can help you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm today to learn more about the services we provide to fathers in legitimation cases. Contact Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt & French for more information.

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