Title 19, Chapter 7, Section 22
(a) A father of a child born out of wedlock may render the same
legitimate by petitioning the superior court of the county of his
residence, the county of residence of the child, or, if a petition
for the adoption of the child is pending, the county in which the
adoption petition is filed for legitimation of the child.
(b) The petition shall set forth the name, age, and sex of the
child, the name of the mother, and, if the father desires the name
of the child to be changed, the new name. If the mother is alive,
she shall have notice of the petition for legitimation.
(c) Upon the presentation and filing of the petition, the court may
pass an order declaring the child to be legitimate and to be capable
of inheriting from the father in the same manner as if born in
lawful wedlock and specifying the name by which the child shall be
(d) A legitimation petition may be filed, pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (e) of Code Section 15-11-28, in the juvenile court of the county in which a deprivation proceeding regarding the child is pending.
(e) Except as provided by subsection (f) of this Code section, the
court shall upon notice to the mother further establish such duty as
the father may have to support the child, considering the facts and
circumstances of the mother's obligation of support and the needs of
(f) After a petition for legitimation is granted, if a demand for a
jury trial as to support has been properly filed by either parent,
then the case shall be transferred to superior court for such jury
(g) Consistent with the purpose of subsection (a) of this Code section, whenever the Department of Human Resources petitions the superior court or other authorized trier of fact to establish paternity, the father may intervene to petition for the legitimation of the child born out of wedlock if the mother of the child consents to the filing of such legitimation petition. Upon the determination of paternity or if a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity has been made and has not been rescinded pursuant to Code Section 19-7-46.1, the court or trier of fact as a matter of law and pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 19-7-51 may enter an order or decree legitimating a child born out of wedlock, provided that such is in the best interest of the child. Issues of name change, visitation, and custody shall not be determined by the court until such time as a separate petition is filed by one of the parents or by the legal guardian of the child. Custody of the child shall remain in the mother until a court order is entered addressing the issue of custody.