QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT LEGITIMATIONS

WHAT IS A "LEGITIMATION"?

Legitimation is a legal action which is the only way, other than by marrying the mother of a child, that the biological father of a child born in the State of Georgia may establish legal rights to his child.


WHO MAY FILE FOR LEGITIMATION?

Only the biological father of a child may file a petition seeking to legitimate his child.


WHAT IS THE LEGAL EFFECT OF A LEGITIMATION?

An order of legitimation creates a father and child relationship legally between the petitioner and his child. An order of legitimation establishes that the child may inherit from his legal father and vice versa. An order of legitimation allows the legal father to be listed on the child’s birth certificate as such. An order of legitimation is the only way that the father of a child born out of wedlock can be recognized as the legal father of a child and therefore can petition for custody and/or visitation with this child.

If you are already listed on the child’s birth certificate as the father, but you and the child’s mother were not married to each other, you must still file a petition with the court to legitimate your child.

Effective July 1, 2005, requests for custody and/or visitation may be included in your petition for legitimation.


(more…)

Frequently Asked Questions About Common Law Marriage

WHAT IS A COMMON LAW MARRIAGE?

A Common Law Marriage simply means that the marriage was established without benefit of a license and ceremony.


HOW ARE COMMON LAW MARRIAGES ESTABLISHED?

Although the definition may vary from state to state, the common features of a common law marriage are:

  • Cohabitation – the parties lived together.
  • Consent – the parties intended to hold themselves out as husband and wife.
  • Holding out- the parties "held themselves out" to the world as husband and wife (i.e. The parties spoke of each other as "my husband" or "my wife").
  • Neither party was married to someone else.

DO WE HAVE TO LIVE TOGETHER FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME TO BE "COMMON LAW MARRIED"?

In most states that recognize common law marriages, there are no time requirements for living together.

In most states that recognize common law marriages, there are no time requirements for living together. The controlling issue is not time together, but the intentions of the parties.


(more…)

How Courts Work In Civil Cases

A civil court case begins with filing a legal action at the office of Clerk of the Court.

Filing means giving legal papers to the Clerk of the Court.  The papers become a part of the case.

People usually get a lawyer to do their court work for them.  However, each one of us has the right to do our own court work.  Only a lawyer is allowed to represent (do court work for) others.  Doing your own court work is called pro se (pronounced:  pro say) representation.

Taking a problem to court begins with writing a court paper called a complaint or petition. 

The complaint/petition tells the court about your case.  The complaint usually tells:

1. Who the person is that you are going to court against.  This person is called the defendant or respondent;

2. What the defendant/respondent did that brings you to court with a legal action;

3. The law that gives you a right to take legal action against the defendant/respondent;

4. What you want the court to do.  This is usually called the prayer or request for relief.

The following steps are what may happen in a court case: 

(more…)

Frequently Asked Questions About Annulment

1. What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a legal order declaring that a marriage never existed. Annulments are rare and only granted in unusual circumstances.

2. On what grounds can I receive an annulment

You may receive an annulment if . . .

  • You and your spouse are related as follows: parent/child, stepchild; grandparent/grandchild; aunt/nephew; uncle/niece.
  • You did not have the mental capacity to enter into a contract.
  • You were under the age of 16 when you entered into your marriage.
  • You were forced to enter into the marriage.
  • You were fraudulently induced to enter into the marriage.
  • Your spouse was married to another living spouse at the time you entered into the marriage.

(more…)

Temporary Protective Orders

WHAT IS FAMILY VIOLENCE?

The Georgia Code 19-13-1 defines family violence as certain kinds of crimes between people who have certain relationships to each other. The kinds of crimes include battery, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass and any felony. The people must be connected to each other as past or present spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren or other persons living or formerly living in the same household. If the crime is stalking, the people do not have to have any relationship or connection to each other.

HOW CAN A TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDER (TPO) HELP YOU?

A temporary protective order (TPO) is a court order to help protect you from someone who is abusing, threatening or harassing you. The order will require the abuser to stay away from you, your home and your work. The abuser will be prohibited from contacting you in any way.  The court can also order the abuser to stay away from your children if the court feels they are at risk.  The court can also order other kinds of relief in the TPO, such as temporary custody, support and possession of vehicles.

Getting a TPO does not mean the abuser goes to jail. The TPO makes it easier for the police to arrest the abuser for coming near you later, even if the abuser does not hurt you again.

(more…)