When you have a child with someone in North Carolina outside of marriage, you need to establish paternity if you want certain things to take place. Establishing paternity gives you a chance to either seek child support from your child’s other parent or pursue custody or visitation, depending on your role in the child’s life.
Per the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, establishing paternity also leads to important benefits for your child. For starters, it gives him or her a better sense of identity. Establishing paternity also gives your child valuable information about his or her health and background. It may, too, expand your child’s access to financial resources and family contacts. How might you go about establishing paternity in North Carolina?
When both parents agree on paternity
If neither parent questions who fathered the child, you, as unmarried parents, have the option of completing an Affidavit of Parentage at the hospital where you deliver the child. To do so, the father must be there and willing to provide identification.
When there is a disagreement over paternity
If there are questions about who fathered the child, another option involves securing a court order to prove paternity. In this scenario, the potential father must supply a tissue or blood sample for testing. If the presumed father refuses to do so, the mother may need to take steps to serve the father with a formal complaint that forces the father to comply with genetic testing.
Once you establish paternity, you have the option of seeking child support, custody or visitation, depending on the details of your situation.