If you are a mother who is seeking to prove paternity of your child, a successful paternity case can be very important to you and your child’s future. In North Carolina, when a married couple has a baby, the law views the couple as the child’s legal parents. This bestows both with parental rights and responsibilities. Unmarried parents, on the other hand, must take additional legal measures to ensure that a child’s paternity is rightfully established. If you have paternity questions or concerns, consult with an experienced Raleigh child support lawyer today.
Establishing Paternity in North Carolina
In the State of North Carolina, there are three additional ways to establish paternity – outside of being a married couple at the time of birth:
- The parents marry after the child is born, and paternity is established retroactively.
- Both parents sign an Affidavit of Parentage. This often takes place in the hospital at the time of birth, and the Affidavit is a legally binding document that is difficult to overturn.
- Either parent brings a paternity lawsuit, and paternity is adjudicated by the court.
If you are seeking child support for your child and the child’s father does not acknowledge paternity, you’ll likely need to go through the judicial process.
Determining Paternity via the Court
Either parent can bring a paternity action. Additionally, Child Support Services may bring such an action to ensure that both parents provide the child in question with the financial support each parent is legally obligated to contribute. Establishing paternity is extremely important when it comes to court-ordered child support because the court cannot order such support until paternity is determined legally.
If both parents come to a determination regarding paternity before the case goes to court, that settles the issue. Further, either parent can request genetic testing to establish paternity, which the judge will order. If the testing shows at least 97 percent probability of paternity, the judge will issue a final paternity order that legally establishes paternity. At the same time, the judge may enter additional orders, including a child support order.
Establishing paternity can help you obtain child support from your child’s father. Both parents owe a duty of responsibility to their children’s maintenance, health, and education, and the intention of child support is for the noncustodial parent to uphold this critical responsibility. In addition to the obvious benefits of child support, establishing paternity can help your child in other ways:
- Your child can access medical histories from both sides of the family.
- Your child may qualify for benefits through his or her father, including health insurance, Social Security benefits, and state and federal inheritance benefits.
If You Have Paternity Concerns, Consult with a Raleigh Child Support Lawyer Today
Establishing paternity can be critical to your child’s well-being. If you have questions or concerns related to paternity, Daphne Edwards at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law in Raleigh is here to help. For more information, please contact or call us at (919) 838-7160 today.