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Studies have consistently shown that children will have a much better chance of thriving if they have a significant relationship with their fathers. Common sense tells us the same. However, children need more than just a support check every month. They need to spend quality time with their fathers, time that allows them to get to know their fathers and, in the process, get to know themselves.
Unless the biological parents (1) were married at the time that a child is born, (2) married after the child was born, or (3) signed an administrative legitimation while these were legal (roughly 2007 through 2016), by law the child has no legal relationship to the father unless and until the child is legitimated. This means that the father has no legal rights whatsoever to the child, including no rights of visitation or of decision making. This situation does not excuse the father from fulfilling his obligation to the child, however. The father may still be required to pay child support through a paternity action, even though the father acquires no rights in the process.
Sometimes parents of a child do not wish to marry each other, but nevertheless do wish for their child to have a legal relationship to both parents. If you and the mother of the child are able to agree on all issues of custody, visitation, and child support, you may be good candidates for an uncontested legitimation. For a legitimation to be uncontested, the parties must have already agreed on these issues. Uncontested legitimation cases may be handled on a low-cost, flat-rate basis if your situation qualifies.
Sometimes the mother of the child will not consent to allow the child to be legitimated by the father. Although courts usually favor legitimation, there are some situations in which legitimation is not in the best interests of the child. Every contested case is different, but one aspect is always the same: the stakes in these cases could not be higher for either side, because the result of the case will determine whether or not there will ever be a legal relationship between the father and the child. Contested legitimation cases are handled on an hourly-fee basis.
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