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Paternity is a legal status, whether a man is the biological or legal father of someone, usually a minor child. Although most people would assume paternity is a straightforward determination, given the genetic testing that is readily available, it is not. North Carolina paternity law is made up of a patchwork of laws, many of which seem to be antiquated. Paternity laws make various legal presumptions about whether a man is a child’s father based on whether he is married or unmarried. It is possible to be the recognized biological father of a child but not the legal father of the child. There are numerous ways paternity can impact the legal rights of both a potential father and the mother of a child. Our state provides for proceedings known as legitimation proceedings. In a legitimation proceeding, the court will enter a decree recognizing the child to have the same legal rights as a child born to a married couple.

Related Reading:

Birth Certificates

Can I “Give Up My Rights” as a Parent?

Unborn Children

Child Custody

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