Under Georgia law, sometimes a genetic test proving you are the child’s biological parent isn’t enough to give you rights as a father. What this means is that if you wish to build a relationship with your child, if you aren’t married to the mother, then legitimation is your legal solution.
Claiming full legal parentage
There is a significant distinction between paternity and legitimation. Establishing paternity is entirely biological and obligates you to cover child support. Conversely, legitimation presents you with absolute rights and recognition of having a legal parent-child relationship and eventually afford you child custody and visitation. Thus, it will give you leverage if you are properly cognizant of the path toward securing what is due you as your child’s father.
- File a petition for legitimation in the county’s superior court.
- Serve such a petition to the mother of your child for proper notification.
- A court hearing allows you and the mother of your child to show relevant evidence supporting your cases.
- During court proceedings, joint issues, like child support, custody and visitation or parenting time, will be points of contention.
- The duration and cost of the hearing vary because of issues requiring resolution.
- Ultimately, the court bases the decision on the child’s best interests.
The mother of your child also has the right to contest your petition on the grounds of opportunity interest. She can argue about your role abandonment as the father and that you showed no interest whatsoever in connecting with your child. There are instances where she can further assert that you did not provide monetary support despite having the financial capacity to do so more frequently. Lastly, she can also point out that you approved of and assisted her in abortion or terminating the pregnancy displaying your lack of willingness to formally have a bond with your child.
A relationship on solid footing
Securing a solid relationship with your child appears like an uphill battle in Georgia, but it might be your life’s most meaningful yet. There is reassurance in knowing that you do not have to go at it alone because legal options exist as your aid in this process.