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The Rights of Unwed Father’s and Legitimization

In Georgia if a child is born to an unmarried couple the mother has sole custody of the child and the father has only potential rights. The father must file a Petition to Legitimate to establish parental rights.   This is true even if the father is on the birth certificate and even if he pays child support.

A biological father not married to the mother must file a legitimation action pursuant to Georgia law found in O.C.G.A. 19-7-2.  So, you ask how does a father go about doing that?

The father must file a Petition to Legitimate in Superior Court in the county where the mother lives (there are some exceptions to this general rule).  In many ways the process from there is similar to a Divorce case except that the only issues are child custody, visitation and support.

After the Petition is filed and the mother served with notice a court date will be set.  At that court date if an agreement cannot be reached between the parties the judge will decide child custody, set the visitation schedule or parenting plan and set child support.

If you are the father of a child born outside of marriage you need to speak to an attorney about your legal rights.  That attorney can tell you how best to pursue legitimation and explain the rights and obligations you have pursuant to Georgia law.

Posted on: 10 Oct, 2018          under: Divorce, Family Law

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