When a child is born, it is not always easy to determine who their biological father is. However, legal or personal matters may arise in the life of the child and their family, making it necessary to establish paternity.
Establishing paternity is not easy, and it takes a bit more than a DNA test. If you are in a situation where you need to determine the legal or biological father of a child, it may be necessary to have a lawyer on your side.
Read on to find out more about this complicated matter.
Legal and Biological Father: What’s the Difference?
There is no legal definition of the word ‘father.’ In most instances, a child’s biological father is his or her legal father, but this is not always the case. A man who is the alleged biological father of a child born out of wedlock whose paternity has not been established is known as the putative father.
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Children Born Out of Wedlock
If a couple is married when a child is born…
North Carolina law assumes the husband is the child’s biological father, and he will be named as the father on the birth certificate. This is the case even if the parents are separated.
If a couple is not married when a baby is born…
but decides to marry at some point afterward, the baby is legitimated retroactively. It may be best to talk to an attorney before going through this process.
If the child is born out of wedlock…
the putative father’s name may be added to the birth certificate. However, the mother and father must first fill out an affidavit acknowledging paternity.
This is a voluntary process that usually takes place at a hospital or birthing center when the child is born. The hospital will have all the forms available as well as witnesses who make the affidavit legally binding.
Because the affidavit is legally binding, parents should not fill it out if they have any doubts as to who the father is. If they feel they are not ready to fill out the affidavit at the hospital, they can also fill it out later on in the child’s life. If this is the case, both parents and a notary public will have to be present at the signing, and it will require a small fee.
Signing the affidavit means the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate. It also means the father will be responsible for financially supporting the child. The child also has the right to inheritances from the father.
Custody will stay with the mother, but the father can go to the court to gain custody and visitation rights if he wishes.
The signing of the affidavit is a voluntary process, but if complications arise, court action may be required to establish paternity.
A paternity case can be brought to the court by either parent or Child Support Services
Claims are often taken to court because the mother is seeking financial assistance for the child from the father. She will only be able to get this assistance if paternity is established.
If legal action is taken, the parents may decide on a settlement agreement, or the case can go to trial. During the trial, DNA testing may be required to establish paternity. If the test shows at least a 97% probability that the man is the father, paternity is established. The court will go from there to make decisions concerning financial obligations, custody, and visitation rights.
What are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity?
Establishing paternity can benefit all parties involved in the following ways.
- It helps the parents come up with a financial situation that is beneficial to the mother, father, and child.
- The parents can work together to make decisions that are best for the child.
- It gives the father the right to request custody and visitation.
- The birth certificate will have both parents’ names.
- The child has access to medical history from both sides of the family.
- The child can go through his father to qualify for benefits like social security, medical insurance, and other states, federal, and inheritance benefits.
Finding the Right Lawyer for a Paternity Case
Paternity cases are sensitive issues, and they can get tricky when considering the legal processes involved. To get the best representation possible, you need a lawyer with a deep sense of understanding and years of experience in the field of family law.
If you are looking for a paternity lawyer in the state of North Carolina, the Remington & Dixon team is highly recommended.
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The Remington& Dixon team has a qualified team of caring attorneys. They take a sensitive approach providing honest evaluations, and they are passionate about their cases being resolved in their client’s favor. They offer affordable fees, aggressive representation, and a rare sense of dedication to the people they represent.
Dealing with paternity issues can be emotionally taxing, but taking action can provide the best possible outcome for you and your family. Remington & Dixon can assist you during this difficult time, making the process as stress-free as possible. Turn to them for the representation you need in your paternity case.