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Carrollton, GA |

I have a friend who has had his kids for over 2 years. The mother of the children comes by to see them when the time suites her, and when she does come get them she keeps them for either a day or a week. Even though they stay with him she claimed them on her taxes and is now trying to get food stamps for them. He wants guardianship of them so he can get help, but she will not give it to him. He does not have a DNA test for them to prove that they are his, but is there anything that he could do to get guardianship over them since they do live with him?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

This situation is not appropriate for guardianship. He needs to establish his parental rights. No DNA test is needed unless mother surprisingly claims that they aren't his. Until he obtains the decree that he is the father, mother can take the children without warning and disappear. He files a petition for an order that declares he is the natural father, and describes the custodial arrangements. In order to maximize the chances that this order is entered without problems, it would be wise to retain an experienced family law practitioner.

Best wishes for an outcome that serves the best interests of the children, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


I think you have it right. File a petition for legitimation, seek custody, and have witnesses available to show that he has has the kids for the past year plus....

Good luck to your friend....

You can contact me at my office at 770-744-4211 or by email through this website. The questioner and any reader do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.



I’m sorry but I have one more question. My friend went to see about getting assistance for the kids and they told him that he had to get legitimation in order to do so and that it would cost about $4,000 with the cost of court fees and other things is that true? That is the main thing that has stopped him from trying to doing so; he does not have that type of money. I really want to help him because he is a good guy and the things that she is doing to him are really putting him through a lot of stress.

Brett Ladd

Brett Ladd


Heck, it can alsways costs that much if its contested with attorneys. But I doubt it. You can go to the internet and get do-it-yourself forms, or go to offices like mine where we get it done for under $500; in several matters like this, the most significant expense is the filing fee. Your friend should do what he needs to do, for his kids. Regret can last a lifetime, and can also impact the kids, too.


Georgia law requires that the father legitimate the children before he can seek custody. However, those can both be done in the same petition. That would be the appropriate step for this father to take. If he legitimates and gets custody, the other issues will follow. He will be recognized by the IRS as the parent who can claim the children. The birth certificates will show him as the father, and the children's name will be the same as his. The mother will not be able to take the children unless she petitions the court for visitation.
Although one petition may solve all of his problems, he should not attempt to do this without an experienced family law attorney.

I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.


In this situation, guardianship is inappropriate.

He nees to establish parentage via legitimization. If the mother disputes parentage, a court can require DNA tests. Otherwise they may not be needed.

He then will be able to seek custody and child support.

It would be highly advisable for him to get legal counsel before starting.

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