What Is a “Putative Father” in NC?

The term “Putative Father” in NC simply means a presumed father of a child born to two parties that are not married, or married to other people. Cases that come before the NC Family Law and Domestic courts involving a putative father are very complex matters that require expert legal representation and in many cases time sensitive litigation. If you are a party to a pending case involving the birth of a child to someone you are not married to, and you are in the jurisdiction of Carteret, Craven, or Pamlico County NC, Schulz Stephenson Law is available for a consultation with you to decide what steps you need to take to resolve your situation.


Putative Father FAQs in North Carolina


It is very important to note that when a child is born to two parties that are NOT married, and the mother of the child is married to someone OTHER than the probable father, the LEGAL father in NC is her married spouse until paternity is questioned by a court proceeding, and the court makes a final ruling on paternity and the legal rights of the presumed father.


1) At the time of discharge from a NC hospital, a Affidavit of Parentage can be signed by the mother of a child and the presumed father to establish paternity and basic legal rights of the father when the two are not married. The Affidavit of Parentage can be rescinded by either party within a short period of time. The Affidavit of Parentage does not address visitation or custody rights of either parent. The Affidavit of Parentage is a sufficient legal document to establish paternity of a child in NC and to initiate a child support action on another parent.


2) In the absence of an Affidavit of Parentage, the putative father or mother can initiate legal proceeding to legitimate the child and establish the presumed father as the legal father. Typically, this is done with all parties to the matter (mother, presumed father, and legal father) participating in the litigation, and with requests to the Judge for DNA testing.


3) A putative father in North Carolina has no legal rights to a child, nor any legal responsibility to pay child support until he is either legitimated via the courts or child support enforcement brings the presumed father before the courts to establish paternity.


As stated earlier, the complexities in matters involving a putative father in NC are time sensitive, therefore you are strongly advised to seek out legal counsel in Carteret, Craven, and Pamlico County NC immediately if you are the presumed father, mother, or separate probable legal father. Schulz Stephenson Law can be reached at (252) 728-7300.

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