Fathers trying to gain visitation with their child or custody of their child should be aware of the distinctions in rights made between married and unmarried fathers. In North Carolina, there is a vast difference between a father’s rights regarding their children when they are married to the mother of their child, and a father’s rights when they are not married to the mother of their child.
Under state law, when a child is born to a married mother and father, that child is presumed to be a child of that marriage (North Carolina General Statute § 49‑12.1). This means that the father is automatically, in the eyes of the law, the legitimate father, and no further action is needed to establish paternity of the child.
In contrast, when a child is born to an unmarried couple, a father’s rights regarding that child are not immediately established. This is true even if the father is listed on the child’s birth certificate. Paternity must first be established before a father can have any rights and obligations regarding visitation or support of his child.
North Carolina statutes allow a child to be legitimized in one of two ways: through the subsequent marriage of the child’s mother and father (North Carolina General Statute § 49‑12), or through the declaration made by the child’s father to the court (North Carolina General Statute NCGS § 49‑10).
Once paternity is established, an unmarried father has the same rights as a married father. This means a father has the right to visitation or custody of the child, as deemed appropriate by the court, and that the father has to fulfill support obligations owed to the child. If you are an unmarried father needing to establish your rights, contact your attorney for assistance through these court proceedings.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE WAS PREPARED BY SODOMA LAW, P.C. AND IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT, IN ANY WAY, CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE.