Birth outside of marriage is a frequent occurrence in Georgia and around the country. According to federal statistics, four out of every 10 babies born in 2007 was born to an unmarried mother. The birthrate among unwed women has been rising for years throughout the industrialized world. And Georgia is no exception; in some counties, the percentage of births outside marriage is now over fifty percent.
What happens when the fathers of these children want to be involved in their children's lives? Even if the father of a child born outside of marriage dutifully pays child support, his rights to visitation may be limited if there has been no "legitimation" of the father's paternity.
Legitimation is a process by which the father of a child born out of wedlock can take legal steps to protect his relationship with the child. When a couple if married, each parent automatically has rights to be involved in the child's life. If a couple splits up, this involvement can include not only day-by-day responsibility, but also the creation of parenting plans and the enforcement of custodial, visitation or inheritance rights. Fathers whose children were born outside of marriage need to take the affirmative step of legitimation to be sure of having these same rights.
Fathers who move to Georgia from out of state should not assume that they are covered by a legitimation process undertaken in the state they came from. Such fathers should make sure that they have taken the proper steps in Georgia as well.
If you have questions about the legitimation process available in Georgia for fathers of children born to unmarried mothers, contact an experienced family law attorney.
Source: New Service Helps Fathers Establish (Article no longer available online)
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