Shawn Bible Law Main: (706) 375-2145
Ringgold: (706) 935-8864
Shawn Bible - Lawyer in NW Georgia

Legitimation and unwed parents

Nearly 40% of all children born in the United States are born to unwed parents.  So what happens when the parents of a child are not married and separate?  ? When a couple children divorces such decisions are made by the court and a parenting plan is either agreed to or set out by the court.  How do the parents decide who has custody, when the noncustodial parent shall visit with the child and who will provide for the financial needs of the child?

The biological father of a child who is not married to the mother may file a Petition to Legitimate that child with the court.  His Petition for Legitimation is a request to the court for an order declaring that the biological father is also the legal father the child and sets out what his legal rights to that child are.  For example, the court will decide which of the parent shall have custody of the child, how the noncustodial parent will exercise visitation and what amount of child support shall be paid by the noncustodial parent.  The mother of a child born out of wedlock may also file a paternity action and request among other things for support from the father.  If you are the father of a child born out of wedlock you should be aware of your rights and obligations to that child.

What happens if you have a child out of wedlock and then later Mary the mother?  Can that make you the legal father of the child? It can but only if you are in fact the biological father of the child.

The above are just some of the issues that come up when a child is born to unwed parents.  If you are a father to a child born out of wedlock you should consult an attorney about your rights and obligations.  Be aware that a father who does not exercise his right to parent a child may lose that right if he waits too long to act.  If you are a mother to a child born out of wedlock you are entitled to financial help from the father and should contact an attorney about your child’s right to support from the biological father.