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NC child custody to unmarried parents

Clinton, NC |

I am living in Clinton, NC. I have a 2 year old daughter. I was never married to her father. We are currently going through the child support process and the paternity test is pending. When it comes back that he is the father and he is named on the birth certificate, do I need to file for custody? I am confused as to whether I already have custody since we were not married. I am just worried about him taking her and not giving her back.

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Attorney answers 1

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Establshing paternity will create an obligation for the father to pay child support. It iwill not change your child's birth certificate. In order for a man's name to added to his biological child's birth certificate as the child's father, he must legitimate the child. In North Carolina the legitimation of a child born out of wedlock can only occur in 1 of 2 ways: (1) if the father files a Legitimation lawsuit and a Court enters an Order of Legitimation; or (2) if the father marries the child's mother. Once the legitimation of a child has occurred by Court Order, a notice will be sent by the Court to North Carolina Vital Records directing that agency to add the father's name to the child's birth certificate. If the child is legitimated by the later marriage of the child's parents, the parents can contact North Carolina Vital Records and ask the agency to add the father's name to the child's birth certificate. Here is the contact infomratin for Vital Records:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
,Raleigh, NC 27699-1903
Telephone : (919) 733-3000.

You also indicate that you are afraid that once paternity is established and if you do not have Court-ordered custody, this man is going to take your child and not return her to you. If so, you should move forward file a lawsuit in the County where you and your child live and in that lawsuit asking the Court to award you custody. Unless you have some reason to believe that the man in question may not be your child's father, there is no other reason for you to wait until you receive the results from the paternity test before filing your custody lawsuit.

You would be well advised to retain a competent Family Lawyer to represent you, but if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you can check with Legal Aid to see if they can represent you. If all else fails, you can represent yourself.

Good luck to you and your child.

This answer is for informational purposes only and it is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice.

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