Do You Need to Establish Paternity for Child Custody?

North Carolina fathers have a decision to make if unmarried. The state considers married men to be the father of their wife’s child by default. After signing the birth certificate, they do not need to do anything else. 

Unmarried men need to go through a few more hoops. Some men think it is not worth the hassle. Today, we will look at a big reason why that is not the case. 

Involvement in your child’s life 

The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse looks at reasons to establish paternity. One of the biggest reasons is to establish a foothold for custody matters. There is no guarantee that you and your partner will stay together. If you do not and have not established paternity, you have no legal right to your own child. 

What does this mean for you? You do not have any say over your child’s life. Not only that, but the child’s mother does not owe you any legal obligations. They do not have to keep you updated on your child’s life or whereabouts. They could move to another city, state or even country without notifying you. And what if child protection services remove your child from their mother’s home? They may not notify you. They are under legal obligation to try, but that does not mean they will succeed. 

Having a voice in parenting 

You do not have a say in important life choices for your child, either. You cannot decide if you should vaccinate them. You cannot pick the school they will attend. You have no say in what religion to raise them with. 

If you want any say in your child’s life, establishing paternity is important. It is particularly crucial if there is a chance you may deal with custody matters in the future. 

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