Legitimation & Paternity
Paternity and Legitimation suits are flip sides of the same coin. Georgia law establishes two distinct levels of a father-child relationship for a child born outside of a marriage: paternity and legitmation. Paternity establishes the right of the child to receive child support from the father only. Legitimation goes a step further and gives the father legal rights to the child, including the right to custody, visitation, and to have the child’s last name changed.
A legitimation suit may only be brought by the biological father of a child born out of wedlock. A paternity suit may be brought by the child, the mother, the alleged father, a state agency, or an individual with whom the child has been placed.