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Do you need special forms to provide ligitimation?

When you sign papers for paternity, you may think that's all you need to do. Now, you usually can get away with signing the document and filling it out with legitimation included on the paperwork itself. If it's not included, though, you'll need to make an effort to fill out a separate set of documents.

Since 2005, a child legitimation law has been in place in Georgia that allows children born out of wedlock to be legitimated at the same time that a man claims paternity. This takes out one step of the legal process, making it faster for these children to be legally bound to a father or parent.

Legitimation is necessary for several reasons, most of which affect the child. It gives fathers the right to seek out visitation or child custody, for one thing. Second, it allows children to inherit property or other items from their fathers. Third, it allows children to access medical records provided on the father's side of the family. Finally, if a mother can no longer care for the child, then legitimation means that the child can be placed in the father's care.

Both parents must sign and agree to paternity and legitimation documents, but they are both offered on the same document now, while they weren't in previous years. If a child has not been legitimated though this process -- like if the paternity acknowledgement was performed in 2004 -- then a separate legal case needs to be opened to do so and to give a child access to all of the abovementioned legal protections.

Source: Georgia Department of Human Services, "New Child Legitimation Law a Success," accessed Oct. 29, 2015

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