In Georgia, the Superior court does not have the authority to terminate a legal father’s parental rights and grant a biological father’s petition to legitimate a child as part of a divorce matter. Only the Juvenile Court has jurisdiction to terminate parental rights. The Superior Court has jurisdiction to terminate parental rights only as part of an adoption.
A DNA test confirmed that a man, not her husband, was the biological father of a married woman’s child! Trust us, it happens more than you would think! During the married couple’s divorce, the child’s father sought to intervene as a party to their divorce and petitioned to legitimate the child as his own. The Superior Court terminated the husband’s rights as the legal father and granted the child’s father’s petition to legitimate the child, giving him primary physical custody of the child.
In Georgia, the Superior Court has jurisdiction over legitimation matters concerning children who have been born out of wedlock. The Juvenile Court has exclusive jurisdiction for all matters concerning termination of parental rights. The one exception is in cases concerning adoption.
The child in the case was born “in wedlock” and so was automatically the legal or “legitimate” child of the husband. Opening the husband up to be on the hook for child support. When the Superior Court granted the child’s biological father’s petition to legitimate the child it had to terminate the parental rights of the husband, making the child “illegitimate” for the purpose of granting the child’s biological father’s petition to legitimate.
The problem is that while the Superior Court has jurisdiction over matters concerning legitimation, it only has the authority to terminate parental rights as part of an adoption. Since this case involved a divorce and legitimation, and was not an adoption, the Superior Court did not have jurisdiction to terminate the parental rights of the husband. Many make the mistake of the proper steps to take to solve their unique case, often resulting in denied petitions and considerable resources, wasted. To discuss the particulars of your case, contact us.