When a married woman gives birth, her husband is considered the child’s presumptive father. That means he is presumed to be the child’s other biological parent unless proven otherwise.
But what happens when a child’s parents are unmarried? In those situations, paternity has to be established so that both the father and child can enjoy the rights associated with their relationship.
For the father, that means having access to the child or even obtaining custody. For the child, that means having inheritance rights, the right to Social Security dependants’ benefits and the right to financial support from their parent, among other things.
Two methods can be used
If the alleged father and the child’s mother agree about paternity, the issue can be handled through an Affidavit of Parentage. This document can be obtained at the hospital where the child is born or through the North Carolina Department of Vital Records. Both parents must be willing to sign this affidavit for it to be valid.
If the baby’s mother and the alleged father are not in agreement about the child’s paternity, then either may seek a court order to determine the issue. Typically, this means that the court will require genetic testing (DNA evidence) on both the child and father. This is a painless and easy process with a 99.9% accuracy rate.
Establishing paternity also helps strengthen the bonds between father and child. If you have questions about paternity, your support obligations and your right to custody of a child born out of wedlock, it may be time to seek detailed legal guidance to determine which process fits your situation.