Legitimation

If the mother and the father of the child weren’t married prior to the birth of the child, legitimation is the process that a biological father may undertake to legally establish a relationship with the child.

A child is legitimate when:

  1. Born in wedlock or within the usual period of gestation. See O.C.G.A. § 19-7-20(a).
  2. The legitimacy of a child born as described in subsection (a) of this Code section may be disputed. Where possibility of access exists, the strong presumption is in favor of legitimacy and the proof must be clear to establish the contrary. If pregnancy existed at the time of the marriage and a divorce is sought and obtained on that ground, the child, although born in wedlock, will not be legitimate. See O.C.G.A. § 19-7-20(b).
  3. When the mother marries the reputed father of a child born out of wedlock and the father recognizes the child as his; in such case the child shall immediately take the surname of the father. See O.C.G.A. § 19-7-20(c).
  4. When conceived in wedlock by artificial insemination and both spouses consent in writing. See O.C.G.A. § 19-7-21.

When a father petitions the superior court of the mother’s residence or the superior court of the individual with legal custody of the child.  See O.C.G.A. § 19-7-22.