Paternity & Legitimation

At Gray Eittreim Martin, LLC we want to make sure that mothers and fathers completely understand the processes of determining paternity, legitimizing children, and coming to an understanding between the parents on the subjects of custody, parenting time, and child support.

Cases involving unmarried parents can be some of the most emotionally-charged of all family law matters. Often times, one party wished for the relationship between the parents to be legalized in a marriage, but the other party was not, for whatever reason, interested in formalizing their relationship through marriage.  This most fundamental of differences can, of course, produce especially emotional situations when a child has been brought into the world as the result of the relationship.

In addition, because the attorneys of Gray Eittreim Martin handle many paternity and legitimation cases for high net worth, high-profile individuals, we have an excellent understanding of the need for privacy when handling matters that might be of interest to the public at large. We are especially cognizant of the potential for unwanted publicity and the need for discretion and privacy for these highly-visible clients and handle our cases accordingly.

Paternity cases involve unwed parents trying to determine if the child belongs to the father. Likewise, legitimation is the process by which a father is able to legally acknowledge a child as his legitimate offspring. According to Georgia law, a child born out of wedlock is solely under the custody of the mother. Even if the father is on the birth certificate, he has no legal rights in relation to the child absent a formal legitimation, making these issues critical for mothers and fathers alike to understand.

 

Contact us at 770-225-7000 to find out how we can help you with paternity and legitimation issues.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity and legitimizing a child is important for a few reasons. Because the unmarried father has no inherent legal rights, he is not legally able to gain custody or parenting time rights. In addition, if a child is not legitimized, he or she will face problems inheriting from the father’s estate if he dies without a will, or collecting insurance payments or other benefits.

In the state of Georgia, there are three ways to establish paternity:

  1. At the time of the child’s birth, the parents are legally married to each other.
  2. Parents who are unwed can sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form at the hospital, at the State Office of Vital records in Atlanta, or at the Vital Records Office in the county where the child was born.
  3. Through a court order (divorce decree, separation agreement, or other judicial or administrative order).

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