Paternity and Legitimation

Both parents have a legal obligation to support a child born out of wedlock. It is the joint and several duty of each parent of a child born out of wedlock to provide for the maintenance, protection, and education of the child until the child reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated, except to the extent that the duty of one parent is otherwise or further defined by court order.

Paternity actions may be filed for a variety of reasons. Often times the mother of the child is seeking assistance in the responsibilities of parenting by requesting payment of child support.

When a child is born out of wedlock only the mother of the child is entitled to custody of the child and exercises all parental power over the child unless the father legitimates the child.

When a child is born to parents that are married to each other there is a legal presumption that the husband is the father of the child. Georgia law states that all children born in wedlock are legitimate.  A child born out of wedlock is not legitimate (previously known under Georgia law as ‘illegitimate’). The father of a child born out of wedlock must take steps to legitimate (also referred to by some as to legitimize) the child in order to receive parental rights to the child. Having the father’s name put on the child’s birth certificate does not give the biological father any custody rights or visitation rights to the child.

The lawyers at Syrop and Ingle are knowledgeable and experienced in these matters and can help you obtain the best results in actions pertaining to your paternity and legitimation actions.