Most men with children born out of wedlock in North Carolina know they are the child’s biological father. There are three ways to establish paternity.
What does paternity mean?
Often, when an unmarried couple has a child, it’s assumed that the man is the father. However, the man or couple might want to establish paternity to erase any doubts shortly after the baby is born. This is important in protecting the rights of both parents in the event that the relationship ends in the future. When paternity establishes that the man is the biological father, they have full rights for child custody and visitation. The child is also able to get benefits from the father such as health insurance.
How is paternity established?
The easiest way to establish paternity is to name the man as the father on the birth certificate and for him to sign his name on it. This is known as voluntary acknowledgment.
If there is no voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and the mother believes the man is the father, she could bring legal action to prove paternity.
The third way to establish paternity is through a court order for a DNA test. If there is any question of whether the man is the child’s biological father, he can request the test and receive the results from the family court. Testing is fast and easy and can be done through a cheek swab or a blood sample. If it’s determined that the man is the child’s father, the court can then solidify paternity and he will have full paternal rights.
Paternity issues are always emotional. If you believe you’re the father but aren’t married to the child’s mother, you can use any of these methods to establish paternity. If you don’t think you’re the father, you will want to be absolutely sure before signing the birth certificate.