Father’s Rights & Legitimation

It takes two to parent a child, and fathers deserve the same rights and considerations as mothers when it comes to custody, support, and related issues. Whether you need to establish paternity or assert and protect your rights as the dad of record, we can help. Our firm has extensive experience in fathers’ rights issues, and we provide every client with the individual attention that’s needed to ensure an optimal outcome for all parties involved.

In the state of Georgia, Fathers to a child or children that are born out of wedlock do not have rights to that child until they establish those rights in court. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-25. The appropriate action is called Legitimation. According to O.C.G.A. § 19-7-22, 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.

Once a child is legitimized, the child will be able to inherit from the father in the unfortunate event that something happens to the father. Subsequently, within the legitimation action, the father may pursue the right to have the child’s surname changed, to ascertain legal custody rights and to establish visitation rights or primary physical custody of the child. In considering a legitimation petition, the court must initially determine whether the father has abandoned his opportunity interest to develop a relationship with the child. Factors that may support a finding of abandonment by a biological father of his opportunity interest to develop a relationship with a child born out of wedlock include his inaction during pregnancy and at birth, a delay in filing a legitimation petition, and a lack of contact with the child.

It is important that you hire experienced counsel to pursue your rights as a father. At The Law Offices of Precious Felder, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our fathers who want to be integral in the lives of their children. Contact our office today to speak with an attorney who can help.

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