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Paternity and Legitimation

When a child is born to parents who are neither married nor cohabitating, issues of custody, support and even inheritance may need to be addressed.

Georgia law recognizes the mother of a child born out of wedlock as the sole custodian and complete parental authority pending the child’s “legitimation.” The law also requires that the child be legitimized before the biological father may obtain custody or visitation, and affords the mother sole custody and complete parental power over the child. The court can declare the child legitimate, specify the child’s name, and order the child and father capable of inheriting from each other.

Once paternity is established, which may require a paternity lawsuit, the court can issue an order establishing paternity and imposing a child support obligation.