Fayetteville Fathers’ Rights Lawyer
Standing Up for Fathers Throughout Fort Bragg, Cumberland, and Moore Counties
If you are a father engaged in a child custody dispute, you may feel like the deck is stacked against you. Despite evolution in custody laws, many still presume erroneously that the mother is naturally the more fit parent. North Carolina law does not favor either parent in a custody dispute but rather seeks to protect the best interests of the child. Nonetheless, unconscious biases loom in the minds of certain people, and those biases can affect the outcome of child custody and visitation issues.
At Hardin Law Firm, we firmly believe that children are best served when they have a meaningful relationship with both parents. When a father’s role is diminished, the children may suffer the consequences. Kids need their dads, and we are here to protect the rights of fathers in Fayetteville and throughout Cumberland and Moore Counties. An experienced fathers’ rights attorney like Victoria Hardin can help fathers and their children get the best result. A father is far more than an occasional support check and a biweekly visit. We are here to help you maximize your role in your child’s life.
Schedule an initial consultation with Hardin Law Firm to get started. Asserting the rights of fathers throughout Fort Bragg, Cumberland, and Moore Counties.
What Are Your Rights as a Father?
In North Carolina, fathers have equal rights to custody and visitation as mothers. Mothers are not automatically considered the most fit caregiver, and both fathers and mothers in the state may petition for physical and legal custody. The result of the custody case will depend not on the gender of the parent but on whom meets the child’s best interests.
Fathers also have the right to pay or receive child support, depending on the custody arrangement. For most families, the child support award will be based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which consider each parent’s income and how much time they each have with their child. So, a father may very well be eligible to receive child support payments from the mother, as is the case when the father is the primary caregiver raising the child.
In order for a father to exercise their parental rights, however, they must be a legal parent of the child. For married parents who have a child together, this legal status is automatically granted to both parents. For unmarried parents, though, the father will need to formally establish their parentage, or paternity. There are 4 ways to establish paternity in North Carolina:
- Marriage before the child’s birth. Both parents conceived the child while they were married.
- Marriage after the child’s birth. Both parents married after the baby was born and decided to retroactively legitimize their parentage on the birth certificate.
- Signing an “Affidavit of Parentage.” This is a legally binding document that unmarried parents can sign at any time in the presence of official witnesses. It is typically signed at the hospital the child is born, but it can be signed later in the child’s life if both parents agree. This document effectively states that the father is the biological and legal father of the child, so they may have the obligation to pay child support, and the child has the right to inherit from the father. The father’s name will also be added to the child’s birth certificate.
- Filing a paternity lawsuit. Either parent can file a paternity action (“complaint”) with the court, and the parties can settle the case between themselves or go to trial, where the judge will decide whether the alleged father is really the child’s biological and legal father. The judge may issue a genetic test as part of the process. If the complaint is successful, the judge will issue an official paternity order granting the father their legal parental rights.
As discussed above, there are several reasons a father, and even a mother, will benefit from establishing paternity:
- the father will retain the right to request custody and visitation;
- both parents can help each other raise their child financially, as they may share the financial obligations to maintain health insurance, pay child support, pay medical expenses, and pay school tuition;
- the child's birth certificate will include both parents' names;
- the child will be guaranteed the ability to access medical histories from both sides of the family;
- the child can inherit benefits from their father like Social Security, medical insurance, and other state, federal, and inheritance benefits.
In most cases, a child benefits from having both their mother and father in their life. Establishing paternity can allow both parents to work together to make decisions that are best for their child.
As a father, you might feel helpless or prejudiced against in the traditional family court system. However, North Carolina bestows the same parental rights on fathers as on mothers. Whether you seek to modify a custody arrangement, assert your rights to parenting time, or otherwise spend more time raising your child, Hardin Law Firm is here to help you fight for the right to do so. Contact Hardin Law Firm to arrange a consultation with a seasoned lawyer who fights for dads.
“Ms. Hardin is the best attorney in Fayetteville and the surrounding area. She knows exactly what it takes to win your case.”
“If I could give 10 stars, I would. Ms. Hardin and her staff are the gold standard of professionalism.”
“I trusted all her advice and am very pleased with the results. Anyone looking for a good custody lawyer, she’s the one to go to!”
“Victoria Hardin is a fantastic attorney that genuinely cares about her clients.”
“Victoria and her firm exceeded my expectations. If you need a divorce, family law, custody or child support attorney, this is the firm you want. I cannot give enough stars, 5 isn’t enough.”
Providing Solutions for Your Family
Decades of Experience
A Family Law Focused Firm
Dedicated & Professional Counsel