Atlanta, GA family law attorney Regina I. Edwards explains the legitimation process.
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Legitimation is a very unique statute in Georgia. So Georgia has vested all of the power and all of the rights regarding custody of a child to the mother if the mother is not married to the father at the time of the birth. The only exception is if the biological parents of a child at some point later marry then the father automatically is the legal father. Other than that, there is no way for an unmarried father to gain rights other than to file a legitimation case and ask the court to enter a legitimation order making him the legal father. Once that happens, then he’s entitled to ask for custody, parenting time, he’s on equal footing with the mother at that point. But the legitimation process has to be done first.
And what I advise a lot of you young couples who are not married and having a child and are still in a relationship to at least do the legitimation order when the child is born. And it won’t set out custody rights, parental rights it will just make the father the legal father. Then at some point if the relationship doesn’t work out the father then can immediately ask for custody and parental rights at that time without having to ask for legitimation as well.