In Georgia,if you are not married to the mother, paying child support doesn't automatically grant you any legal rights to your children. This includes visitation and custody.
To gain visitation rights, the father must go through the process known as "legitimizing" the child in court. Through this process, he can request custody or visitation with his child.
What is legitimizing the child mean? Legitimization simply means establishing a legal relationship between the father and child. You are making a legal claim to your child. This is different than establishing paternity. Usually establishing paternity is pretty simple: the father signs the birth certificate voluntarily, signs a paternity acknowledgment form or submits to a DNA test. To legitimize the child, a biological father must file a legitimation petition with the court and include his requests for custody and/or visitation.
A legitimation is the only way, other than by marrying the mother of a child, that the father of a child born outside of marriage in the State of Georgia may establish legal rights to his child.
Why should I file for legitimation?
- You want to exercise your legal rights to access your children
- You want to obtain visitation and/or custody of your child
- You do not want the child's mother to dictate when you can or cannot see your children
- You want the ability and opportunity to have a consistent relationship with your children
- You want the courts to recognize you as the legal father of your children
- You are tired of dealing with "baby mama" drama as it relates to custody and/or visitation
- Legitimation orders give both the father and child certain rights that cannot be easily taken away
- You want your children to have the opportunity to legally inherit from you
How long does a legitimation take?
In normal circumstances, a legitimation petition takes 30-45 days from start to finish
Where do I file for legitimation?
You file in the county where the mother resides
When should you do it?
The sooner the better. It is important for you to file for a legitimization as early in the child's life as possible to avoid any possible complications.
If you want to obtain legal rights to your child, Embry Legal can help. Feel free to contact us for a consultation. (678) 631-7744 or [email protected]