In the U.S., about 40% of all births are to unmarried women. In Georgia, a child born outside of marriage is considered illegitimate. It may not seem to matter now, but making sure that your child is legitimate will be very important in the future. Legitimization can be complex, but family lawyers in Carrollton, GA can help you complete the process.
The Benefits of Legitimizing Your Child
While everyone benefits from legitimizing the child, it can be especially important for the father.
- Unless the biological father has legitimized his child with the court, he does not have any legal rights to the child.
- Legitimization encourages emotional bonding between parent and child.
- The father will be able to petition for visitation and custody.
- Legitimization makes it possible for a child to inherit from his or her father.
- The child will be allowed access to the paternal medical history – this can be crucial in treating many medical problems the child could develop.
- If the mother becomes unable to care for the child, legitimization would make it possible for the child to be cared for by one of the father’s relatives.
The court can require an unmarried father to pay child support whether the child has been formally legitimized or not.
Georgia Made Legitimization Easier
In 2005, Georgia made it possible for the father of a newborn to sign a voluntary paternity acknowledgment and also legitimize his child at the same time. Both parents must sign these documents. While most parents take advantage of this opportunity, not all do. If the father decides to legitimize his child at a later date, he will need to go through a formal legal process before the court. Many of the children born before 2005 have never been legitimized by their fathers. It’s important to do this regardless of the child’s age.
In some situations, legitimization can become complicated. Completing all of the required steps can be easier if DNA testing has been performed. It may seem unnecessary now, but being able to prove paternity can prevent future difficulties.
Consulting family lawyers in Carrollton, GA to make your child legitimate may be the most important thing that you ever do for both the child and yourself. Attorney Diane M. Sternlieb provides the experienced representation necessary for these special circumstances. Visit Dsternlieblaw.com to learn more and ask for a consultation.
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