What are the North Carolina Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents?

At the David W. Martin Law Group, our experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte know that not all parents are married, nor do they have to provide a stable and happy home for their children.

However, when parents are not married and decide to go their separate ways, custody arrangements can become increasingly difficult for the father to obtain if he has not established paternity of the children.

Our Mecklenburg County family law attorneys believe in a Father’s Rights to his children and are here to help them navigate the legal process, so they can get back to the dads there were before the relationship with the mother ended.

How Can I Establish Paternity in North Carolina?

When children are born to married parents in North Carolina, the male spouse is assumed to be the father. When unmarried parents have children, the male partner is deemed the father if his name appears on the child’s birth certificate or if the couple has signed an Affidavit of Parentage.

While it is true North Carolina fathers have parental rights whether they are married to the mother or not, they must establish paternity before he can claim custody or visitation rights.

Otherwise, North Carolina Law states the birth mother has all custodial rights until then.

Paternity can be established after the child was born to unmarried parents through a civil action any time before the child turns 18.

The father must file a formal motion, asking a North Carolina judge to determine parentage, which ultimately hinges on the result of a DNA test.

When the test confirms his paternity, the father may pursue his rights to the child(ren).

What Happens After a North Carolina Father Establishes Paternity?

Once paternity is established, the child custody and child support obligations of the father are the same as those that apply to married couples who separate or divorce.

If you need help establishing paternity, or enforcing your Father’s Rights in North Carolina, contact our skilled Father’s Rights attorneys in Charlotte today by calling 980-265-9724 today to discuss your case and get the legal guidance and strategies you need to pursue results.


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