Georgia is one of the few States that requires a biological Father of a child, if not married to the biological Mother, to file a petition with the Court asking to be declared the “LEGAL” Father of the child. Paternity is not the same thing as declaring the Father to be the legal or legitimate Father of the child. As such, the biological Father of a child may ask the Court to declare that he is the legal Father of the child and that the child should then be able to inherit from him if he dies, the same as if the child were born of a legal marriage between the parents of that child.
It should be noted that without the Order of Legitimation, a man who is the biological Father of a child has no rights to the child in any manner, except that he has the right and responsibility to pay child support. The Father may not have the legal right to regular visitation with the child or any manner of custody rights without an Order declaring him to be the Legitimate Father. This is in ALL cases where the parents of the child were not married at the time of the child’s birth, or within one year (12 months) of the child’s birth. Either the Mother or Father may file to have the Father declared the legal Father of the child, and the parties may agree on this, as well, without a hearing before the Court. A Father may also file a Petition to Legtitimate his child together with his request to be granted visitation, custody (legal and/or physical – see Custody section in this Site), and that the child’s surname be changed to reflect that he is the Father, if the child’s name was not already noted on the birth certificate.
In the event that the parties who are parents of a child born out of wedlock should marry within one year of the child’s birth.” Also, Administrative Legitimations (the document signed at the hospital after the child’s birth), is no longer accepted or legal in Georgia.”