Legitimation is the action that gives legal rights to the Father of a child or children born out of wedlock, meaning the parents were not married when the child was born. There are two parts to legitimation, the first is determining that the Father is in fact the actual Father of the child. The next step is to show the court that the father has been sufficiently involved in the child’s life to justify him having legal rights to the child. When a child is born out of wedlock, the Mother is the child’s only legal parent until the Father is legitimated. It is important to note that a Father can still be ordered to pay child support for the child even where he is not legitimated and has no legal claim to the child.
Fathers of children born out of wedlock should file for legitimation as soon as is possible upon the child’s birth to ensure that he has custodial rights to the child in the child’s early years of life. If a Father delays filing for legitimation for too long, a court may find that he abandoned his opportunity interests and deny his request to legitimate the child. Like child custody cases, the best interest of the child standard applies to legitimations, so the court will decide whether it is in the child’s best interest for the Father to legitimate the child. If you are a Father seeking to legitimate your child The Alexander Firm can help.
A Mother can consent to the legitimation or she can object to the legitimation. Where the Mother consents to the legitimation the court will enter an order finding that the Father is the legitimate Father of the child and giving him custodial and visitation rights. If the Mother objects to the legitimation and the court finds that it is not in the child’s best interest to be legitimated, the court will deny the Father’s Petition for Legitimation. If you are a Mother who objects to the Father of your child legitimating the child, give us a call, we can help!