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Understanding paternity vs. legitimation rights

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Uncategorized |

Unwed fathers in Georgia typically sign a paternity acknowledgment form at the hospital after the birth of their child. It confirms their identity as the father. However, if you and your child’s mom no longer had a relationship at the time of birth and you want custody or visitation rights, you might need a DNA test.

According to the Georgia Department of Human Services, a father can be a biological parent and a legal parent. State statutes address these as two separate things.


Mothers often file a paternity action when identifying the biological father to establish child support. The court requires a DNA test if the parents were not married at the time of birth. After confirming paternity, the court determines the father’s responsibility for child support payments. However, paternity does not automatically grant visitation rights. If you want a relationship with your child and the mom refuses, you may file for legitimation.


If you have financial responsibility and also want custody, you must file for legitimation in the county where the mother resides. The timeline for completing the process depends on the participation of each party. Although it can take days, it may take weeks or months, based on the current circumstances.

Establishing paternity and obtaining custody may become a complicated process, especially if the child’s mom was legally married to another man at the time of birth. Your child can benefit from the establishment of paternity and legitimation. Not only do they have access to medical records and family history, but they can also become beneficiaries of life insurance policies and military benefits.