Born out of wedlock
By David Walker, Attorney at Law
In Georgia, legitimation allows the biological father to be recognized by law as the legal father when a child is born out of wedlock. The biological father may file a petition for legitimation of the child. The superior and juvenile courts have concurrent jurisdiction in legitimation cases. The superior court has general jurisdiction but the juvenile court may become the proper court in certain circumstances.
The child may also be legitimized by administrative acknowledgment of legitimation. The acknowledgment of legitimation section is on the bottom of a Paternity Acknowledgement Form. In the legitimation section of this form, a voluntary declaration may be made that the mother and biological father consent and agree that the relationship between the child and father shall be considered legitimate for all purposes under the law.
If both parents freely agree and consent that the child may be legitimated, both the mother’s and father’s signatures are required. Signing only the top section of the form pertaining to paternity acknowledgment does not constitute a legal determination of legitimation. The form is filed with the Georgia State Office of Vital Records.
Voluntary acknowledgment of legitimation must take place prior to the child’s first birthday. Both mother and father must freely agree and consent. The legitimation section of the Paternity Acknowledgment Form cannot be signed if the mother is married to someone else or was married to someone else at any time within the usual period of gestation or there is another legal father. The form also cannot be signed if mother’s rights have been terminated or the mother has signed a form with another man. Further, a person making a false statement on the acknowledgment form is subject to criminal penalties.
David Sinclair Walker, Jr. P.C.
-Admitted in GA and D.C. -UGA Law ’76 -Certified Mediator -Georgia Bar No. 731725
Published in the Gwinnett Citizen