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Child Legitimation in Georgia

Macon GA Legitimation Attorney

A father can establish legal rights to a child born in Georgia through the legal action known as legitimation. This is the only way, other than marrying the mother of child; a father can institute his legal rights. Legitimation is a process exclusively for fathers. No other person can use this legal process.


To initiate the process of legitimation, a Petition for Legitimation has to be filed by father in his county of residence. If the process is being undertaken for adoption purposes, then the petition can be filed in county where adoption has been filed. If process is being conducted for requesting child custody, then petition has to be filed with the mother’s consent in her county of residence.


An order of legitimation legally proclaims a relationship of father and child between petitioner and child. This allows the child to be legal heir to father and inherit from him. The petitioner, now father, is allowed to be named in the birth certificate of child. Legitimation is a process of legalizing paternity of a child born out of wedlock. Once the process is completed, father can file for child custody or enjoy visitation rights with permission from court.


Legitimation is required for the following circumstances:


• If a father wants to file for child custody and is not named in birth certificate of child, he has to file a petition for legitimation and get the order signed before filing for custody.
• If father is named on birth certificate of child but is not married (never was married) to mother, he has to file for legitimation.

There are exceptions to this rule,

• In cases where mother of child is deceased.
• Mother consents to hand over custody to father.

The fee structure payable for the process of legitimation is a simple $65. Depending on purpose and process involved additional charges are applicable.

• Mother needs to be served with petition. $25 is the cost for this service, for each address the Sheriff has to travel to.
• Those outside Georgia have to pay $28 for the same service.
• In cases where address of mother is unknown, the petition has to be served through publication costing $80. The petition is published in the local county newspaper of her last known residence.
• If there is another person named as father in birth certificate, the person would have to be served the petition and this would cost $25.


In the event of not being able to meet expenses for legitimation, father can apply to file free of charge called Poverty Affidavit. This requires written request explaining income and expenses stating inability to pay petition fee. The court allows free petitions if convinced but publications fees are rarely waived.