Legitimation in Gwinnett County GA

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Legitimation in Gwinnett County, Georgia

If you are looking for legitimation information for Gwinnett County, Georgia, you are not alone. Many people each year need information on how to go about filing for legitimation in Gwinnett County. On this site, you will find the information you need, including what legitimation is, why you may need it, how you go about filing for it, and how to find an attorney who can help you with the process. We have also included some frequently asked questions that you may find helpful

Quick Facts About Legitimation in Gwinnett County:

  • Legitimation is what gives legal rights to the father of a child who was born out of wedlock or whose parents did not marry. Without legitimation, the father does not have legal rights to the child, even if he can prove he is the father with a paternity test. The only other way for legitimation to take place is to marry the child’s mother.
  • You file for legitimation in Gwinnett County if the child’s mother/guardian resides in the county, you don’t know where she lives but you live in the county, or the child’s mother/guardian left the state, but lived in the county within the last six months.
  • The Petition for Legitimation forms can be obtained online and must be filed with the Superior Court of Gwinnett County. There is a form for uncontested legitimation, which means the mother/guardian will sign consent and you have both agreed to parenting time and child support. And there is a form for contested legitimation, which means that the mother/guardian will not sign consent and will need to be served by the sheriff.
  • You can file the petition on your own, or you can hire an attorney to represent you. The Superior Court highly advises working with an attorney.
  • Only the biological father of the child can file the Petition for Legitimation regarding a child who was born out of wedlock. The mother cannot file the petition.
  • There is a fee to file the petition. For the current filing fee, call the Superior Court at 770-822-8100.

Forms Needed for Legitimation in Gwinnett County

When filing the paperwork for legitimation in Gwinnett County, you must fill out every section accurately. The forms included in the legitimation packet include:

  • Case Filing Information Form
  • Summons
  • Navigating Family Change Parenting Seminar
  • Petition for Legitimation and Custody/Visitation
  • Verification

If you are not addressing issues of custody, visitation and support, and are only legitimating, you may not need the following forms:

  • “Exhibit A” – Visitation Schedule
  • Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
  • Certificate of Service

There are additional forms that may be necessary, depending on your personal situation. These include:

  • Domestic Relations Case Filing
  • Domestic Relations Disposition
  • Summons
  • Sheriff’s Entry of Service

What You Need to Know About Filing for Legitimation in Gwinnett County

If you are filing for legitimation in Gwinnett County, there is a good chance you have questions. Most people do, so know that you are not alone. Many people have questions about what legitimation is, how the process works, and how to file the forms properly. The more you know about the issue, the better position you will be in to move forward with legitimation.

Legitimation is the process that a father of a child born out of wedlock needs to take in order for him to have legal rights to his child. When a child is born out of wedlock, even if his name is on the birth certificate as the father, the state of Georgia does not give him legal rights to the child until legitimation has taken place. If the parents did not marry, then the father does not have legal rights to the child without legitimation. This is the case even if a paternity test has been done to prove that he is the father.

It is important to note that if the child was born out of wedlock and the parents married after the birth, then the child is already considered to be legitimate. In that case, you would not need to petition for legitimation. The same goes for if the parents married during the pregnancy. The only time the father needs to file for legitimation is when the child was born to parents who were not married at the time of the birth or who did not get married after the child was born.

How to Legitimate a Child in Gwinnett County

To legally legitimate a child in Gwinnett County, you need to file the Petition for Legitimation at the Superior Court. Once the petition has been filed, the mother will be served by the sheriff if she has not already signed a consent or waiver. If you do not know where the mother lives, then she will be served with a Petition by publication. The length of the process that the legitimation takes depends on certain factors, such as if another father is listed on the birth certificate, if the mother must be served by publication, and if there are custody issues.

Why Petition for Legitimation

Even for those men who may have taken a paternity test to prove they are the father, it is important to take the steps toward legitimation. A paternity test could be used to ensure that you pay child support, for example, but it doesn’t guarantee any legal rights to the child, including visitation. There are other important reasons to establish legitimation, including if something were to happen to the mother. If the mother died, for example, the child could be put into someone else’s custody, rather than go to the father. If you would like to get custody of the child or have visitation rights, you need to first start by establishing legitimation.

Should you hire an attorney or file yourself?

You do have the option of filing the Petition for Legitimation on your own. However, working with an attorney may be the safest option. Legitimating your child is an important matter, and you need everything to go in your favor. The best way to ensure that everything is filed correctly and that everything has been done to help protect you is to work with an attorney who will have your best interest in mind. Consult with an attorney experienced in Georgia divorce and family law.

If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you may be able to get assistance through Georgia Legal Aid and by contacting the State Bar of Georgia to inquire about pro bono attorneys.