Legitimation in Georgia
Legitimation is a way for a father to claim legal parentage of a child “born out of wedlock.” It goes beyond a mere acknowledgment of paternity. In Georgia, establishing paternity gives a court the power to enforce a father’s duty to support a child financially, while legitimation gives a child the
Fathers RightsThe biological father would first have to establish paternity and then file a petition for legitimation in court. The mother’s husband or former husband can challenge the petition, unless he has divorced the mother on the grounds that she gave birth to another man’s child. The mother can challenge the petition, provided that her parental rights have not been terminated, and no termination action is pending.
Legitimation LawO.C.G.A. 19-7-22 (2010)
19-7-22. Petition for legitimation of child; requirement that mother be named as a party; court order; effect; claims for custody or visitation; third-party action for legitimation in response to petition to establish paternity
(a) A father of a child born out of wedlock may render his relationship with the child legitimate by petitioning the superior court of the county of the residence of the child's mother or other party having legal custody or guardianship of the child; provided, however, that if the mother or other party having legal custody or guardianship of the child resides outside the state or cannot, after due diligence, be found within the state, the petition may be filed in the county of the father's residence or the county of the child's residence. If a petition for the adoption of the child is pending, the father shall file the petition for legitimation in the county in which the adoption petition is filed.
(b) The petition shall set forth the name, age, and sex of the child, the name of the mother, and, if the father desires the name of the child to be changed, the new name. If the mother is alive, she shall be named as a party and shall be served and provided an opportunity to be heard as in other civil actions under Chapter 11 of Title 9, the "Georgia Civil Practice Act."