Helping Fathers And Grandparents Obtain Custody And Visitation Rights

Legitimation is the process in Georgia of obtaining custody and visitation rights for the father of a minor child.

In Georgia, biological fathers have automatic obligations placed on them, including paying child support. A mother can petition the court to establish her child's biological father, which could include obtaining a DNA test. Additionally, if a father acknowledges paternity on a birth certificate, he may also be responsible for child support.

This does not give the father the right to visitation or custody. If a father was not married to the mother at the time of birth and he does not later marry her, he does not have legal rights regarding the child. It is only through legitimation that a father obtains a legally recognized role in his child's life for visitation and custody purposes.

Grandparents' Rights In Legitimation Proceedings

It is possible that grandparents can become involved in proceedings surrounding legitimation. A paternal grandparent may wish to obtain custody or visitation rights for a grandchild. In order to do so, the father must first legitimate the child.

Generally, grandparents cannot obtain custody of a minor child, unless the parents have abused, neglected or abandoned the child. This most often occurs in situations involving alcohol and drug abuse.

However, grandparents may have the right to visitation, if:

  • The child's well-being would be harmed if the child cannot visit the grandparents, and
  • Visitation is in the child's best interests

A parent can petition the court to amend or revoke visitation rights every two years or if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. However, once a court order is in place, parents must respect the visitation rights granted to the grandparents.

Questions? We Can Help.

Legitimation proceedings in Georgia can often be contentious. William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law, prides himself on his ability to help clients navigate difficult and complex circumstances. This includes legitimation proceedings, particularly when grandparents wish to become involved in the lives of their grandchildren or wish to protect their grandchildren from harmful relationships.

For a free consultation with a reputable Marietta, Georgia, lawyer, call us at 770-884-4171 or reach us online.