Father’s rights encompass many areas of family law. These rights sound in divorce, child custody, child visitation, paternity and legitimation. And though divorced dads and fathers of children that have received orders of legitimation are entitled to the very same parental rights as their maternal counterparts, unwed dads that have not received an order of legitimation may find that it can be a challenge to assert their parental rights.


It cannot be overstated here that unwed fathers have no legally

recognized parental rights until they have received an order of

legitimation from the court. Legitimation is a legal action that

customarily can take up to 30 days in the state of Georgia. When a child is born out of wedlock, the biological father must pursue a Petition for Legitimation to assert his parental rights. A failure to do so can adversely impact his rights to custody, visitation and the child’s receipt of an inheritance from his estate.

Father and Son




Paternity v. Legitimation

Though some believe that signing a child’s birth certificate legally establishes paternity, this could not be further from the truth. Signing a child’s birth certificate establishes neither paternity, the identify of a child’s father, nor the father’s parental rights. And though the establishment of paternity may trigger a father’s child support obligation to financially care for his child, it does not establish his parental rights, which may include custody and visitation.

At the Shakhan and Wilkerson Family Law Firm we help dads make sense of the law. Our attorneys know the legal terrain because we have personally experienced it, both as litigators and defendants. Give us a call at (833) GA-FAMILY and allow us to assist you in establishing a legal relationship with your child today. A child should have the right to know and grow with his/her dad.

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