A petition for legitimation is a legal action put forth by the biological father of a child requesting to be legally recognized as the child’s father. Although an unmarried father is legally required to support his child, the legitimation process is necessary to establish other rights and responsibilities toward his offspring. However, there are instances where the biological mother of the child may have concerns about some of the issues the court will decide during a legitimation hearing, such as custody. For instance, unsafe or unstable living conditions, abusive behavior and non-compliance with court orders can all serve as valid reasons to contest the custody portion of the legitimation proceeding.
In a legitimation proceeding the trial court will first determine whether the father abandoned his opportunity interest to develop a relationship with the child. This determination will be based on the father’s conduct before and after birth. The court will then determine what is in the best interest of the child. Legitimation proceedings are often hotly contested matters due to the issuance of final decrees on matters such as child custody, child support and visitation.
At the Faucette Law Firm we handle all divorce and family law-related matters in the Atlanta area related to legitimation, contested and uncontested divorce, child support, child custody, alimony and modifications. Our firm has experience representing fathers seeking legitimation of the biological child as well mothers contesting a petition for legitimation. If you have any questions regarding Georgia’s legitimation process, contact our law firm today for consultation.