(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Daddy) - A Legitimation Song

(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Daddy) - A Legitimation Song

Posted By Savannah Steele, Lawrenceville Family Law Attorney || 26-May-2016

You break up with your girl, man you don't want to go
You ask your [baby] mom, please?, but she still says, no!
You missed visitation, ‘cause there’s no court order
But your ex preaches parenting like you're some kind of jerk

You gotta fight for your right to daddy!

You call for some time, and she said, no way!
Your child needs to see you for more than one day
Man, being unlegitimated is such a drag
Now your calling an attorney and bringing papers in your bag(bust it!)

You gotta fight for your right to daddy!
You gotta fight

Don't step out of this house, that's the choice you gotta make
But how long can a smile you fake?
Her mom busted in and said, where’s my child support?
Aw, mom you're just jealous it's legitimation order!

You gotta fight for your right to daddy!
You gotta fight for your right to daddy!

Daddy!
Daddy!

Lyrics aside, legitimation can be a complex and frustrating step for many men. Under the law in Georgia (and many other states) men do not have any rights or legal relationship with their child until they either marry the child’s mother or are legitimated by the Superior Court. As I have discussed in my previous post about the beast with two heads, child support and visitation are not linked together in the eyes of the law. So from the moment your child is born out of wedlock, you have a duty to provide financial support for the child, even if you do not have legal rights to the child and may not have any visitation.

So how does one get legitimated? Well the process itself is simple, and as in most areas of law, the devil is in the details. A legitimation suit must be brought against the mother of the child and must be served upon her. Once she is served, she will have an opportunity to respond to your pleading. Then you will begin the discovery phase to determine the evidence available as to the financial situation of each party, the home life of each party, who lives in the home, who would potentially be around the child, etc. Once you have all the information, the parties can begin negotiating a plan for visitation and child support and the case will continue in a similar fashion to a divorce case.

If there is any question as to the biological paternity of the child, this is the time to ask for a DNA test to ensure you are the child’s biological father. Once you are legitimated, there is no turning back, so you need to be sure. It is better to get the test now, than regret it later.

Also, if you are still dating the child’s mother, but you do not have any plans to be married anytime soon, you can still file a legitimation action. You do not always have to literally “fight” for your right to daddy, as much as you just have to assert your right. At it’s essence, a legitimation action is to create the legal relationship between a father and a child born out of wedlock. It may be a good idea for you and the child’s mother to enter into a consent legitimation, even if you have no plans to end your relationship anytime soon. You can advise the courts of your ongoing relationship and consent that child support or a visitation plan is not necessary at this time. That way, in the event something does go awry, you have established your legal rights. Plus, you have established your child’s rights to you, in the event that becomes necessary.

As always, it is almost certainly helpful to speak to a family law attorney to find out the best route for you during legitimation and determine what steps would be necessary for you. It can be very frustrating during a break-up, but even more so if your ability to see your child is solely up to the child’s mother’s discretion. The only way to assert your rights and avoid being under the thumb of the child’s mother is to legitimate. And by that I mean, fight for your right to daddy!

Savannah Steele

Categories: Family Law

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