The experienced lawyers at King Law understand that there are a variety of reasons why families in North Carolina pursue paternity cases. We are proud to offer our family law services to clients who are looking to move forward with their North Carolina paternity cases with strong legal representation on their side.
Establishing Paternity in North Carolina
The process of establishing paternity is also known as “legitimation” and it provides a way for a father to be legally recognized as the parent of his child. In North Carolina, there are four distinct ways that legal paternity is established. The first of which is the most obvious: marriage. The state will automatically recognize a married couple as the legal guardians of their child if they are born during the marriage.
In addition to getting married, parents have other ways of establishing legal paternity in North Carolina which can include the following methods.
Marriage after a Child is Born
If a child’s parents choose to get married after that child is born, North Carolina does not require them to legally legitimize their status as guardians. Speak with a lawyer who is experienced in family law before making this decision. There may be specific aspects of your case that need to be reviewed before signing a marriage certificate.
Signing the Affidavit of Parentage
If parents are looking to establish legal paternity for their children without getting married to one another, they may sign an Affidavit of Parentage. This is a legally binding document that states, as signed by both the child’s mother and father, that the father is a biological guardian of the child. If you are unsure about your paternity status, do not sign an Affidavit of Parentage until you have participated in a DNA test. The document can establish important aspects of your custody and guardianship such as child support or visitation rights.
Affirming Parentage Through Court Action
Taking the case to court can be another alternative option for parents seeking to file a “complaint,” which is a paternity action that is brought to the court by either parent or North Carolina’s Child Support Services (CSS). In some instances, a judge will require genetic testing of the parents to determine paternity. If the test returns with a 97% probability of parentage or higher, a court will then legally establish paternity. After the determination, the judge will issue the final paternity order which formally establishes paternity. In these trials, parents can choose to settle the case at any time.
North Carolina Benefits of Establishing Paternity
After taking a genetic test to determine the legitimate paternity of a child, many families look for ways to move forward quickly with their paternity case. For families who live in North Carolina, there are many reasons why they choose to establish paternity that can range from financial reasons to personal ones. The legal verdict of paternity provides several different benefits for both parents and their children, including but not limited to the following.
- Both parents work together to make informed decisions for their children.
- Financial cooperation between both legal parents to provide ongoing support for the child, if they live apart.
- The child’s father has the legal right to ask for expanded visitation and custody in North Carolina court.
- The child’s birth certificate will have the name of both parents.
- The child can access important medical history from both sides of their family.
- The child can qualify for benefits through their father, including insurance, Social Security, and inheritance benefits.
No matter why you choose to file a paternity suit, you and your family need to have your case thoroughly examined by an experienced paternity lawyer before any decisions are made or legal action is taken. When it comes to managing cases of paternity, guardianship, and parentage in North Carolina, it is important to consider the needs of the children involved in the case and how establishing legal paternity can affect them now and in the future.
How Does Paternity Affect My Child?
Much of the process for establishing paternity is based on determining the best course of action for the child involved in the case. Most circumstances find that establishing paternity provides a variety of benefits to children, whether their biological father lives with them or not.
Once paternity is established, a court can order that a father pays child support to ensure that the child is provided for and has access to important essentials. Without access to child support payments, some children do not have the ability to obtain items like clothing for school, food, educational materials, and other necessities.
Paternity can also help your child in the future if they ever require access to your medical records to determine genetic predispositions and other related information. Establishing paternity can also entitle the child to inheritance benefits after their father passes away.
Strengthen Your Case with a Dedicated Paternity Lawyer in NC
Here at King Law, our experienced family lawyers understand the sensitive nature of paternity cases and we are proud to offer our support to clients who require strong representation and reliable legal counsel. We have successfully worked with hundreds of families in North Carolina to obtain ideal results and we are prepared to help both you and your loved ones move forward with your paternity case.
Our trial-tested family lawyers are dedicated to providing you with world-class service, a highly organized approach to your paternity case, and diligent representation in North Carolina court. We are trained to provide compassionate and confidential care to our clients.
Contact the office of King Law in North Carolina at (888) 748-KING (5464) or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced paternity lawyers today.