Written by attorney Mary Katherine Brown

How does an unmarried father establish paternity in North Carolina?

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Gen. Stat. §§ 48-2-206; 49-10

At any time after 6 months from the date of conception, the birth mother, agency, or adoptive parents chosen by the birth mother may file a special proceeding with the clerk requesting the court to determine whether consent of the biological father is required. The biological father shall be served with notice of the intent of the biological mother to place the child for adoption, allowing the biological father 15 days after service to assert a claim that his consent is required.

If the biological father fails to respond within the time required, the court shall enter an order that the biological father’s consent is not required for the adoption. A biological father who fails to respond within the time required under this section is not entitled to notice under § 48-2-401(c) of an adoption petition filed within 3 months of the birth of the minor or to participate in the adoption proceeding.

The putative father of any child born out of wedlock, whether such father resides in North Carolina or not, may apply by a verified written petition, filed in a special proceeding in the superior court of the county in which the putative father resides or in which the child resides, asking that such child be declared legitimate. The mother, if living, and the child shall be necessary parties to the proceeding.

If it appears to the court that the petitioner is the father of the child, the court may thereupon declare and pronounce the child legitimated.

Other than the above, the statute does not specify exactly what information is required, nor does it specify a procedure to revoke a claim to paternity.

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