Paternity & Fathers Rights

What rights does a father have in NC?

in north carolina


Under North Carolina law, you have rights as a father unless you voluntarily give those rights up. Unless there is a court orders, your rights as a parent are equal to those of the mother. You may even be entitled to receive child support payments from the mother. The North Carolina paternity law provides that the paternity of a child may be established at any time before the child turns eighteen. A paternity action can be brought to court by either of the parents. … If the parties go trial, the judge will decide whether the alleged father is the child’s legal father.

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You have several options when it comes to establishing paternity depending on your circumstances.

1.  Affidavit of Parentage (If You Are Not Married)It’s a simple form that both the mother and father of the child sign voluntarily affirming that the man who signed the form is the child’s presumed father. It carries the same effect as an order of paternity, in that it gives the person named as the child’s father certain rights and responsibilities. The focus is on the father because without genetic testing there is no way to prove who is the child’s father.

2. Married – If you are married to the mother, and the child is born during the marriage, then the law presumes that you are the child’s father. If you marry the mother after the child’s birth, you can also establish paternity.

3. Paternity action – If you were unmarried when the child was born, you can also establish paternity through filing a legal action. Expect to undergo genetic testing for this process.

in north carolina


As a father, you too have rights when it comes to child support. You will not be any more or less responsible for child support simply because you are the father. For most North Carolina families, child support obligations are based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The formula considers both parents’ incomes in addition to other factors. Depending on the facts in your case, you could actually be eligible to receive child support payments from the mother in order to raise your child. Like child custody, you can seek modification of child support payments.

You should know that one parent can never deprive the other parent of custody or visitation simply because the parent may have fallen behind in child support payments. That’s not how it works. There are many ways to enforce child support obligations, and that’s not one of them. If the mother of your child tries to prevent you from seeing your child when you have custody or visitation rights, then you should immediately get help from an attorney.





An experienced attorney makes all the difference.