Legitimation, Paternity And Name Changes

Under Georgia law, a mother of a child born out of wedlock has the sole right to make decisions about the upbringing of that child. That right is uncontroverted even though the father of the child may pay or is paying child support.

Legitimation

Legitimation is the process by which a father of a child, born out of wedlock, petitions the court for a legal and binding order that states that he is the child's father. In most circumstances, once the petition has been filed, the court will also establish a father's visitation rights and require him to pay some child support.

Paternity

Essentially, a paternity action is a suit brought by the mother of an unborn child where she seeks a legal and binding order stating a particular male is the father of her child. As in a legitimation action, the court, in most instances, will decide visitation, custody and child support issues.

Name Changes

Georgia law allows both adults and minors to change their legal names. In most instances, a petition is granted so long as the petitioner is not requesting a legal name change to "purposely defraud, deceive or mislead" any person or entity of any right.

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