Being the birth father in Georgia does not make a man a legal father. Under Georgia law, he may be a “putative” father, with no legal rights. Recent changes, however, now allow birth fathers to claim legal status – often at time of birth- and up to the child’s first birthday by simply signing a legal document. This allows a father of a child born out of wedlock to render his relationship with the child legitimate without going to court.
Hildebrand Law Office is experienced in preparing such documentation so fathers can claim legal status, assuring rights to custody, visitation, and ability to pass along inheritance.
What steps do we take in preparing legitimation?
Legitimation is the process of granting legal rights to a non-legal father and getting him rights to visitation. Why do non-legal fathers seek legitimation? The father of a child born out of wedlock has no legal rights to the child, except the right to be notified of court hearings. If the father wants visitation and legal rights to the child he must legitimate the child.
- First, we schedule an initial meeting, where we will review initial information to prepare your legal filing.
- Second, we draft the legal petition to legitimate the child.
- Third, we have you return to the office to sign the petition.
- Fourth, we file the petition with the Clerk of Court. After the petition is signed, either the mother of the child signs the settlement agreement, or the mother gets served with a court notice.
- Finally, on court day, if the mother has signed the agreement, there is a brief hearing. Clients usually can answer “yes” to most questions. If the mother was served with court notice, a hearing is held prior to court, with the process taking much of the day.
- Once the judge signs the order, the child is considered legitimate that day. If it is determined the child’s name needs to be changed, our office processes paperwork for a new birth certificate.
The service fee for establishing legitimation is only $800 and includes all additional fees and court costs.
To get started, please download and complete the following form. You may then email or bring the completed form in person.