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  4.  — Legitimation

We Help Parents Foster Their Relationship With A Child

At Terri Herron Law, our goal is to help mothers and fathers in Atlanta and the surrounding counties foster their parent-child relationship. Unfortunately, unwed fathers are often denied this right due to strict paternity laws in Georgia. If you are a father who has been denied visitation with your child, our attorney can help you enforce your parental rights through the process of legitimation.

“Ms. Terri Herron showed compassion and a great amount of assurance throughout my case. Ms. Herron handled all legal matters very professionally and always had an open ear to answer any of my questions with no delay. She gave me great confidence with her knowledge of the law, to succeed as a single father without guidance, who was initially representing himself in the beginning. I now have joint legal custody, legal visitation and my child can now inherit from me.” — Client testimonial

What Should Fathers And Mothers Know About Legitimation?

Under Georgia law, paternity must be established for a child born out of wedlock before a father can exercise his custody and visitation rights. This process is called legitimation and can be an incredibly important part of establishing a parent-child relationship in these types of cases.

What Is Legitimation?

Legitimation is the process by which fathers establish parental rights to their children. Under current law, the only two ways to establish paternity are to:

  • Marry the child’s mother
  • File for legitimation through the courts

What Actions No Longer Legitimate Parental Rights?

  • Only fathers can file a petition for legitimation. Mothers can file to establish paternity.
  • Signing your name as the father on a birth certificate does not establish paternity.
  • Legitimation is no longer possible at the hospital after a child’s birth.
  • Paying child support does not establish paternity.
  • In a hearing to determine legitimation, a judge can also address issues of custody, visitation, child support, name changes and paternity testing.
  • If you are a mother, legitimation of a child does not mean that the father is taking the child away from you.
  • A verbal custody arrangement is never enforceable. You need to legitimate your child, and the agreement needs to be approved by a judge.

What Happens After Legitimation Is Complete?

In most paternity cases after the legitimation process is complete, a judge will then order one parent to pay child support to the other parent. Additionally, a judge can handle other matters related to legitimation including name changes for the child as well as making decisions regarding custody and visitation.

Do you have other questions? Check out our child custody FAQ page for answers to some common custody questions.

Do You Have Questions About Legitimation? We Welcome Your Call.

Whether you are a father who wants access to your child or a mother who is facing a petition for legitimation, we can help you. You can discuss your case with our experienced lawyer in a free initial consultation at our main office in Roswell or any of our other conveniently located offices in Atlanta, Marietta, Snellville or Duluth.

Send us a brief description of your needs using our online contact form or call our law office directly at 404-692-6487.

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