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What to Do if a Father Denies Paternity in North Carolina

When a father denies paternity in North Carolina, it can be quite frustrating. You may know without a doubt that an individual is the father of your child, but you may be unable to proceed without proof. When a father denies that a child is theirs, it can lead to all kinds of legal consequences. Unfortunately, when these disputes arise, legal action is often the only option to adequately resolve the issue. This can seem like a daunting prospect for many mothers in North Carolina.

Fortunately, there is always help available for those who need it in North Carolina. Enlist the help of a qualified, experienced family law attorney from Arnold & Smith, PLLC, and you can approach this challenging situation in the best way possible. These legal advocates can help you establish paternity with a number of different methods, including going to trial if necessary.

Why You Might Want to Establish Paternity

There are many reasons why you might want to establish paternity in North Carolina. One of the most common reasons is to gain access to child support. Alleged fathers may deny their own paternity in an effort to escape child support responsibilities, which can create a difficult situation for mothers. In addition, paternity is linked with child custody. A father may deny paternity so that they can avoid their child altogether. When paternity is established, a judge may try to encourage the father to spend time with the child and give them visitation rights.

There are many other reasons why establishing paternity might be a priority. If paternity is never established, the child may miss out on certain financial benefits. For example, the father might have a life insurance policy with payouts going to his children. The father may also set aside a certain amount of inheritance for his legitimate children. A child may also miss out on social security benefits, veterans’ benefits, healthcare insurance through an employer, and many similar benefits if paternity is never established.

Finally, parents may wish to establish paternity for the benefit of the child’s mental state and their overall sense of identity. When a child understands who their father is, it can help them feel more confident and secure about who they really are.

Your First Options

If a father denies paternity, you have a few options before taking serious legal action. First of all, it is important to understand that in North Carolina, paternity is established automatically whenever parents get married. If a father is married to the mother before the child is born, it is assumed that he is the legitimate parent of that child. You can also get married after the child is born, and paternity is also automatically established on a retroactive basis in this case (although this may be more problematic than the first option).

If a father is denying paternity, marriage is probably out of the question. Another option is to convince him to sign an affidavit. This legally binding document states that he is in fact the father. Although it might seem impossible to convince him to do this, it may be easier than you think. If you enlist the help of an attorney and state that you are willing to take legal action, this could convince the father to sign the document and avoid a trial. Before you go to trial, the father will have many opportunities to reach a settlement and establish his own paternity.

Taking Legal Action

If all other options fail, your only real option is to take legal action. With help from your attorney, you will file a complaint with the court and go before a judge. Both parents will have the opportunity to request genetic testing. A judge may also order genetic testing if it is clear that the parents cannot come to an agreement. This genetic testing is usually enough to establish paternity without a doubt. That being said, the court process may not be as easy as you think, and it is important to enlist the help of a qualified attorney.

Consult With an Experienced Lawyer Today

If you are serious about establishing paternity in North Carolina, it is probably a good idea to speak with a qualified, experienced family law attorney. Arnold & Smith, PLLC, is a law firm with many attorneys that specialize in family law. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience with these kinds of situations, and they can employ a range of effective strategies on your behalf. Reach out today at 704-370-2828 to schedule your consultation at one of our conveniently located offices or submit a contact form here and we will reach out as soon as possible.