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Paternity and Legitimations

Paternity and Legitimations

I handle Legitimation cases and Paternity cases

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Paternity and Legitimation cases

Paternity actions are filed by the mother and served upon the biological father. Where this legal action is filed depends upon the location of the child or location of the biological father.

What the Court may consider:

1. Expenses for the child: The Court can award reasonable or necessary expenses associated with the birth and upbringing of the child. In order for the Court to award these expenses, the mother must be able to establish through receipts and medical records actual costs associated with the child. However, the law does not allow a mother to recover a portion of rent or utility bills but does allow the mother to recover costs associated with the birth of the child.

2. DNA testing: The Court can require the alleged biological father and child to submit to DNA testing. DNA testing was previously a more invasive process but now can be accomplished simply by swabbing the mouth of the child and alleged biological father.

3. Attorney fees: Once the Court has determined paternity, the Court can establish a child support obligation. Furthermore, the Court can award attorney’s fees associated with the pursuit of


A paternity action is a separate and distinct action from a legitimation action. The biological father files legitimation actions to legalize the parent/child relationship.

The Court must determine two things:

  • If the alleged putative father is indeed the biological father based upon the consent of the parties or DNA testing
  • Whether it is in the best interest of the child to legalize the parent/child relationship

Although the law favors legitimation, there are times when the Court could find that the granting of the legitimation is not in the best interest of the child. For example, if the biological father sexually abused the child in question, the Court could deny the legitimation.

Should the Court grant the legitimation, then the Court can consider the visitation and custodial rights of the father. Likewise, the Court will set child support. The outcome of these family law matters depends on the answers to the following questions:

  • Were the mother and father married at the time the child was conceived?
  • Were the mother and father married at any time during the pregnancy?
  • Were the mother and father married at the time the child was born?
  • After the child was born, did the father recognize the child as his own?
  • Has the biological father even been determined to be the child’s father by a Final Paternity Order?
  • Has the biological father ever lived with the child?
  • Has the biological father contributed to the child’s support?
  • Was the biological father listed on the child’s birth certificate?
  • Has the biological father been paying child support?

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Office Location
The Waldrip Center
200 West Academy Street Suite 203
Gainesville, Georgia 30501
Phone: 678-316-5000
Secondary Phone: 470-252-5233