In North Carolina, a child born to a married couple is presumed to be the legitimate child of the marriage. However, if a child is born out of wedlock, the father of the child will need to engage in legitimation proceedings to seek custody and visitation rights, provide financial support, and receive other rights and benefits.
Understanding The Differences Between Legitimation And Paternity
At The Law Office of Julia M. Pendleton, we help fathers pursue parental rights through legitimation. Similarly, we help mothers pursue paternity actions to establish the identity of a child’s non-marital father. Although the focus is often on the parents, these actions are designed to protect the legal and financial interests of children.
Whether you are the father or mother of a child born outside of marriage, working with a family law attorney can help you understand your options and initiate proceedings to assert your rights through the following:
- Legitimation: Either legitimation proceedings or the marriage of both parents is the only method for establishing the legal rights and benefits of an illegitimate child. If legitimation is granted, the biological father will be responsible for providing financial support for his child. He will also be granted custody and visitation rights. The child will be established as the father’s heir. Additionally, if the child passes intestate before the father, the father will be named the child’s heir.
- Paternity: An affidavit of paternity allows the mother of an illegitimate child to legally establish the identity of the child’s father. By establishing paternity, the father will be held accountable for financial support and will have the opportunity to pursue visitation and custody. However, paternity does not implement the same legal rights as legitimation or marriage.
To speak with Julie about your options for pursuing a paternity or legitimation action, contact our Greensboro law office and schedule a consultation.