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If a woman is married when she gives birth, the state of North Carolina presumes her husband is the biological father of the newborn child. Even if they are separated, he can be listed on the birth certificate. Alternatively, when a child is born out of wedlock, the couple can put the father’s name on the birth certificate, and he can sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity.
Other scenarios—like when multiple men could potentially be the father—require more effort to prove the identity of a child’s father and grant him the associated rights and responsibilities. Guidance from a local child custody attorney could be a great resource.
Whether you need to prove or dispute paternity, enlist the help of a Pineville paternity lawyer from our firm for best results.
Paternity is determined by a DNA test offered by a medical facility. Both the father and the child need to get tested at the facility to check if they are a match. The medical providers then prepare an official report and give a copy to the court.
Paternity can be tested at any age, but paternity cannot be established if the father is unable to be located. The father must voluntarily supply his own DNA. It is illegal to refuse a court-ordered paternity test; if someone refuses to submit, they can be held in contempt of court and punished with fines and even imprisonment. For help arranging a paternity test, speak with a local Pineville paternity and legitimation attorney.
Also referred to as legitimization, “legitimation” is a process by which a child born out of wedlock can obtain the same legal rights and privileges as a child born to married parents would have. It is a separate matter from paternity; establishing paternity does not automatically legitimate a child.
There are two situations in which a legitimation petition can be filed: if the child’s parents never got married or if the child’s mother was married to someone other than the child’s biological father at the time of the birth. In either scenario, only the child’s biological father could file a legitimation petition. He can do this at any time, no matter how old the child is.
Legal effects of legitimation include the ability to inherit assets and the right to sue for wrongful death. The child’s birth certificate will also be updated to reflect the name of the child’s biological father. A paternity and legitimation attorney in Pineville could assist with both actions and help work towards keeping family ties maintained.
Paternity obviously impacts a father’s legal rights and responsibilities to his children. The two main issues at hand are child support and child custody or visitation.
When a mother wants to pursue child support, the biological father of that child has to pay the amount determined by the court. If a man can prove he is not the father, he is not responsible for paying child support. Furthermore, in cases of mistaken paternity or paternity fraud, a man can overturn a previous child support order.
Biological fathers have the right to open custody cases and become involved in their child’s life if they have not already. However, if a father does not want to be involved, he also has that option. He is only obligated to pay child support; there are no obligations surrounding visitation schedules.
Sometimes, when a couple is splitting up, their child custody cases and child support cases get dismissed due to newfound revelations about cheating and, subsequently, paternity. For guidance in these sensitive matters, trust a paternity attorney in Pineville.
Legitimation is a civil proceeding, whereas paternity can be either a civil or criminal action (in the case of unpaid child support, for example). Regardless of which issue you need assistance with, a Pineville paternity lawyer is equipped to handle the case and give clarity to everyone involved. Contact us now to get started.