When a child is born to unmarried North Carolina partners, the man is not automatically compelled to list his name as the father on the birth certificate. He might be referred to as the alleged father until completing a DNA paternity test. He might undergo the test voluntarily to confirm his relationship to the child, or do so to comply with a court order related to the determination of child support obligations.

A positive paternity result from the test obliges the man to pay child support if a court is reviewing a petition for support. Confirmed paternity could also grant him legal rights to visitation and custody. A negative result, however, excuses him from any legal requirement to pay for the child’s expenses because he does not have a biological connection.

DNA testing has been a factor in identifying celebrity fathers. A lover of rock star Mick Jagger confirmed his identity as her daughter’s father. DNA testing also resulted in Steve Jobs acknowledging a daughter. Paternity testing for a legal case must be conducted through a laboratory that uses a chain of custody procedure for handling cell samples taken from the people involved. Courts and government agencies do not recognize results from do-it-yourself DNA testing kits that people use to send samples through the mail.

DNA testing can be used soon after the birth of a child or even years later when a mother is trying to inform the father of his relationship with a child. On a case that involves child custody and support, an attorney could handle paperwork for the family court and present evidence to a judge in the hopes of gaining a court order for paternity testing.