Rights And Obligations Of Unwed Fathers
A man’s name may be on the birth certificate, but under Georgia law he has no rights or legal standing as the father if he never married the mother. He cannot assert custody or visitation rights without petitioning the court through a process called legitimation.
The Law Firm of Christopher T. Adams, P.C., represents men or women in legal proceedings relating to children born out of wedlock:
- Fathers seeking to be involved in the child’s life
- Men seeking to prove they are not the father
- Mothers seeking child support or proof of paternity
Family law attorney Chris Adams has practiced in Lawrenceville and the north metro area of Atlanta since 1992. He offers knowledgeable representation and a free consultation at 800-582-0304.
All The Bad And None Of The Good
A man can be ordered to pay child support if a paternity test (DNA testing) proves he fathered the child. But under a quirk of the law, the mother can demand child support from the biological father, yet prevent him from seeing his own child.
Legitimation puts an unwed father on even ground. It confers all the rights as if the mother and father were married — he can petition for visitation, shared custody or even primary custody. (It also obligates him to pay child support and confers inheritance rights to the child.)
Recognition In The Eyes Of The Law
“Illegitimate” is a moral or religious judgment about the child born out of wedlock. Legitimation is a legal recognition of the father — establishing his rights as well as his responsibilities to the child. The current marital status of the parents or the circumstances of the child’s birth have no bearing on legitimation.
Having the father’s name on the birth certificate does not entitle the father to any legal rights or visitation to the child, but it will likely obligate them to pay child support. A paternity test and legitimation do not automatically entitle you to be part of your child’s life. But it opens the door. For a free initial consultation with experienced lawyer Chris Adams, call 800-582-0304 or contact us online.