Douglas W. Lewis, Lawrenceville Attorney – Gwinnett Legitimation, Paternity, Divorce, Custody, and Family Law
GWINNETT LEGITIMATION ATTORNEY – 11 ESSENTIAL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LEGITIMATION IN GEORGIA
PETITION TO LEGITIMATE
This is the third of a five-part series regarding the 11 Essential Things You Should Know About Legitimation in Georgia
Recent studies have shown that among women under thirty years old, more than one-half of all babies are now born outside of marriage. That means with the new year fast approaching, it is now more likely that the first baby born at Gwinnett Medical Center to a mother under thirty years of age will be born out of wedlock.
Family law attorneys in Gwinnett County are receiving an ever- increasing number of inquiries concerning legitimation and paternity issues in general, and the rights of the biological father of a child born out of wedlock in particular.
In Part I, we discussed that Georgia law states that the biological father of a child born out of wedlock does not have any visitation or custody rights to the child unless he legally legitimates the child and that if a Paternity Acknowledgment form is not signed then the father's name will not appear n the birth certificate.
This following addresses #5 and #6 of the most Essential Things You Should Know About Legitimation in Georgia:
5. The only way the biological father can obtain legal visitation or custody rights to a child is to legally legitimate the child by filing a Petition to Legitimate
Filing a Petition for Legitimation is the only way the biological father can legally obtain visitation or custody rights to a child born out of wedlock (other than by marrying the mother of the child after the child's birth).
6. Signing the Acknowledgment of Legitimation section of the Paternity Acknowledgment form does not give the biological father visitation or custody rights to the child.
At the bottom of the current Paternity Acknowledgment form there is a section entitled ‘Acknowledgment of Legitimation'. The Acknowledgment of Legitimation section of this form has been the source of confusion for some time.
The Acknowledgment of Legitimation form language states, ‘We, the mother and biological father, voluntarily consent and agree that the relationship between the child and the father shall be considered legitimate for all purposes under law pursuant to O.C.G.A. §19-7-21.1. Note: This section does not apply if the child is over one year of age at the time this document is signed.”
At first it appears that by signing the Acknowledgment of Legitimation it would allow the father to avoid having to go to court to legitimate the child and request visitation or custody rights to the child.
However, Georgia law clearly states that executing the “voluntary acknowledgment of legitimation shall not authorize the father to receive custody or visitation until there is a judicial determination of custody or visitation” [O.C.G.A Section 19-7-21.1(e)].
Signing the Acknowledgment of Legitimation section does provide some benefits such as allowing the biological father and child to inherit from each other and it makes it easier for the child to receive Social Security benefits from the father.
If you or a family member or a friend have any questions about what happens when a child is born out of wedlock in Gwinnett County, or in any other County in the metro-Atlanta area including Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, Walton, Barrow, Hall and Forsyth counties, then please do not hesitate to immediately call attorney Doug Lewis at 770-682-3765 for a free initial telephone consultation.
Lawrenceville Attorney Douglas W. Lewis has over twenty years of experience in Gwinnett County and the Atlanta Metro area handling divorce, legitimation, paternity and child custody cases, family law cases, personal injury cases, criminal defense, civil litigation cases and estate planning matters. If you have any questions please call the Lawrenceville office for a free initial phone consultation or to schedule an office consultation. You can contact attorney Doug Lewis by telephone at 770-682-3765, via email. Client reviews can be found on Mr. Lewis' Google page, Avvo page, and on his website.