If you’ve had a child outside of marriage, establishing paternity is typically an important issue. If you’re married when your child is born, paternity is automatic in the State of North Carolina, and you and your spouse are both deemed the legal mother and father – with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. If you aren’t married, however, the child’s father must be identified before legal rights and responsibilities can apply (to the father). If you aren’t married at the time of your child’s birth, you’ll need to take an additional legal step to establish paternity, and an experienced attorney can help with that.
Other than the mother and father being married at the time of a child’s birth, there are three ways that paternity can be definitively established (also known as legitimation) in North Carolina, including:
- You and the child’s other parent can marry after the birth of your child and thus legitimate your child retroactively. This establishes the husband’s paternity all the way back to the child’s birth.
- Both you and the other parent of your child can sign an Affidavit of Parentage, which states paternity.
- Your child’s paternity can be determined by the court after you, the other parent, or someone else files a paternity suit.
Each of these has its own specific applications. It’s important, however, to assess your own unique situation and to proceed accordingly.
The Upside Of Establishing Paternity
Except in the direst situations, the court finds that every child deserves to know and establish a relationship with both of his or her parents, and this includes establishing paternity when necessary. In fact, there are a variety of benefits to determining paternity, including:
- Both of you are included on your child’s birth certificate.
- The child’s father will contribute to your shared child’s financial support.
- Both of you can work together to establish what best suits your child’s unique needs.
- Your child’s father has the right to ask the court for more expansive custody and visitation.
- Your child is guaranteed access to medical records from both lineages.
- Your child qualifies for benefits such as health insurance, Social Security, and other inheritance benefits that come through his or her father.
The benefits of establishing paternity for your child are difficult to deny, but the process can be tricky. Work closely with a knowledgeable attorney to help ensure the smoothest path forward.
An Experienced Charlotte Family Law Firm Can Help With Your Divorce Concerns
You naturally want what’s best for your child, and paternity (if you aren’t married when your child is born) is an important part of this. Establishing paternity benefits your child in important ways, and the dedicated attorneys at Blood Law, PLLC, in Charlotte, have the experience, commitment, and resources to help you succeed in this endeavor. We care about your case, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (704) 286-0570 for more information today.