When a child is born to a married couple in North Carolina, the husband is generally presumed to be the child’s legal father. However, sometimes couples in North Carolina, who are unmarried, have a child together and later break up. When this happens, the custodial parent may want to seek child support from the noncustodial parent. However, in order to do so, paternity must be established. Establishing paternity is a means of identifying who is the child’s father for legal purposes.

Establishing Paternity: 2 Ways

One way to establish paternity is through genetic testing. Both the child’s mother and the alleged father, along with the child, will have a cheek swab performed. The swabs will then be sent to a lab to confirm whether the alleged father is the child’s biological parent.

Another way to establish paternity is through an Affidavit of Parentage. This is a form in which both the child’s mother and the alleged father voluntarily acknowledge that the alleged father is the child’s biological father. This can be done at the hospital when the child is born or later at an area Child Support Services office.

Why Paternity Matters

Establishing paternity is important for several reasons. The child’s mother cannot pursue child support until paternity is established. Similarly, the child’s father cannot pursue child custody or visitation until paternity is established.

Perhaps most importantly, the child benefits from knowing who his or her father is for personal reasons, familial history and health purposes. Those in North Carolina who want to learn more about establishing paternity may want to seek professional guidance on the matter.