Establishing Paternity in North Carolinaestablishing paternity

What Does it Mean to Establish Paternity?

Establishing paternity can be an important aspect of North Carolina family law. In North Carolina, when a married couple has a child together, there is a presumption that they are the legal parents of the child. This presumption is different when an unmarried couple has a child together. In order for an unmarried father to be considered the biological father of the child, he will have to take extra legal steps to make sure that the child’s paternity is established.

Why Would Someone Establish Paternity?

There are several reasons for why an individual would want to establish paternity over a child. Establishing paternity may result in the following benefits:

  • The father’s name will be placed on the child’s birth certificate;
  • The child will have the right the inherit from both parents;
  • This allows the father to have expanded custody and visitation rights to the child;
  • The child will be allowed to access medical histories from both sides of their family;
  • The child can qualify for benefits like social security, medical insurance, and other benefits through their father;
  • Both parents can make decisions that align with the best interests of the child.

What is the Court Process?

There are a few ways for establishing paternity in North Carolina:

  • Under N.C.G.S. § 49-14, the father may file a civil action with the court to establish paternity;
  • Under N.C.G.S. § 49-2, paternity may be established as a prerequisite to a conviction for nonsupport of the child;
  • The putative father can file for a special proceeding known as legitimation under N.C.G.S. § 49-10 or § 49-12, depending on the circumstances.

What are the Rights and Responsibilities of a Father Who has Established Paternity?

Once a father has established their paternity over the child, the most important right that they have is the right to have a relationship with the child. This means that the father may pursue custody of the child and potential child support for the child, if needed.

Consider setting up a consultation with a family law lawyer at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

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