When a child is born outside of a marriage, one or both of the parents may want to consider establishing paternity of that child.
Filing a paternity claim can benefit both the mother and the father by determining who the father is, giving him the right to see his children and help raise them, and holding him financially responsible for his children.
If you need to establish paternity of your child, a North Carolina custody lawyer can help. Contact Jonathan Breeden with questions and to expedite the paternity claims process. Call today to find out how we can help you.
Fathers of illegitimate children may want to affirm their positions as the biological fathers of the children because it also affords them legal rights as the parent. In North Carolina, legal parental rights aren’t automatically established in cases where a child is born out of wedlock. Fathers may want to exercise their legal rights as a parent so they can have a say in the child’s upbringing, including residency, schooling, medical care, and religious affiliation. They may also get court-ordered custody and visitation rights.
Mothers also have an interest at stake when establishing paternity. If the father of their child is legally recognized, he may be ordered to pay child support or cover the child under his health insurance. The child would also be able to inherit property from him.
Paternity may be established in the following ways:
When a child is born within a marriage, North Carolina automatically recognizes the spouses as the legal mother and father of that child.
If the parents decide to marry after their child is born and state that the child is theirs, the state does not require them to legitimize the child any further.
The parents can voluntarily state the child is theirs without having to get married if they sign an Affidavit of Parentage. This document acknowledges that the putative, or assumed, father is in fact the child’s biological father. The statement is further affirmed by the child’s mother.
Before signing the affidavit, both parents should be given certain information so that they can make a decision based on all the facts. Parents need to know their rights and responsibilities, legal ramifications of signing the affidavit, alternative to signing the affidavit, and the process to rescind or retract the affidavit.
Signing the document means the father may be ordered to pay child support, and that the parents may need to establish custody. It also means the child will be able to inherit assets from the father’s estate after he passes away.
While signing an Affidavit of Parentage is a voluntary procedure, affirming paternity in court is not. Often paternity is established in child support cases; authenticating a father’s legal paternity allows the child’s mother to ask the court for child support. A putative father may be ordered to succumb to a DNA test so the court can legitimate the child by legally establishing the biological father.
After he is established biologically, the court can then order him to pay child support and can work with the parents on custody and visitation issues.
A parent may file a paternity case with the court, or the state’s Child Support Services (CSS) may do so. CSS has an interest in establishing paternity for children to ensure they are being cared for by both parents.
Parents are legally required to support their children. This applies even if their name isn’t listed on the child’s birth certificate.
However, unless paternity is legally established by one of the above methods, an assumed parent can’t be compelled to pay child support. In addition, when a parent is not named on the birth certificate, they also have rights under the law regarding custody or visitation.
Whether you’re a mother or a father looking to establish or a challenge paternity in North Carolina, or interested in terminating parental rights, you need to know your options and how to achieve your goal. It’s best to seek experienced legal help from a lawyer who knows how these matters are handled in North Carolina and what it takes to secure the result you need to see.
A paternity lawyer can help you legally force the paternity issue and guide you in asserting all of your parental rights.
A child should not be denied the chance to have a relationship with both of his parents, whether they were married or unmarried when they were born. A capable paternity lawyer can play an integral part in establishing paternity claims.
Jonathan Breeden, a lifelong resident of North Carolina and an experienced paternity attorney, has helped both fathers and mothers through the legal process of determining paternity and educating them on their rights and responsibilities as parents. Call Breeden Law Offices today at for help with your case.
Call Breeden Law Office today:Call (919) 661-4970