Father’s Rights and Legitimation
Legitimation of a child is a legal process by which a biological father becomes the legitimate (legal) father of a minor child. Oftentimes, the minor child is born out of wedlock; however, there are cases in which the mother of the child was married to a man who was not crucial; therefore, a biological father who is not a legal father of a child should retain the services of an experienced family law attorney to assist in this legal process.
One frequent comment is: “My name is listed on the birth certificate of my child. I recall the child’s mother and me signing a form acknowledging both paternity and legitimation while at the hospital. What are my rights?” Unfortunately, you have little to no rights as to the minor child. The form, although authorized by the State of Georgia, appears to have legal implications; however, the laws of the State of Georgia specifically provide that the father does not have any custodial rights and/or visitation rights as to the child. O.C.G.A. Section 19-7-21.1(e) specifically states: “Voluntary acknowledgment of legitimation shall not authorize the father to receive custody or visitation until there is a judicial determination of custody or visitation.” In other words, you, as the biological father, need to file an action for legitimation, to become the “legal father” of the minor child and seek custody or visitation rights of your child.