Family Law

Legitimation and Paternity

Legitimation and Paternity

Paternity actions and legitimation are two legal processes by which unmarried parents can both establish and assert their parental rights. When married parents are going through divorce, they have equal rights to seek child custody and visitation. Unmarried parents, however, must first meet certain legal requirements before establishing custody and visitation rights.


Under Georgia laws, paternity is the process by which the biological father of a child is established. Fathers can fill out a Paternity Acknowledgement Form voluntarily to establish paternity, but if the child’s parentage is in question, a DNA test may be required. A paternity action establishes a father’s biological relationship with the child, but not his legal rights.


Legitimation allows an unmarried father to establish his legal parental rights if his child was born out of wedlock. Once legitimation is complete, a father can seek to establish his custody and visitation rights. Only a child’s biological father may seek legitimation, so in many cases, fathers wishing to obtain custody and visitation must go through both steps. By contrast, only a paternity action is required in order to seek or enforce child support.

The process of establishing your rights as an unmarried parent may seem obvious or straightforward, but we understand the complexities that can arise, especially where custody is in dispute. The attorneys at Shadrix & Parmer, P.C. provide knowledgeable and dedicated support throughout the paternity/legitimation process. While many cases can be resolved amicably, in the event a trial becomes necessary you need legal representation.

The attorneys at Shadrix & Parmer, P.C. assist unmarried mothers and fathers involved in paternity or legitimation actions, assist the single parent in seeking child support, and protect unwed fathers’ rights to shared custody and visitation following parental separation.

If you need legal assistance regarding paternity and/or legitimation in West Georgia, contact the law firm of Shadrix & Parmer, P.C. at 770-830-0809.