If you live in North Carolina and think you fathered a child but are not completely sure, you may have cause to conduct a paternity test to determine whether you are, in fact, the biological father of the child in question. There are several different methods you may use to do so, among them signing the birth certificate, signing an affidavit of parentage or undergoing DNA testing. If these methods prove you to be the father, you gain certain rights when it comes to your child.
More specifically, once you are able to establish legal paternity in North Carolina, you can typically do the following:
Enjoy the same rights to your child as his or her mother
If you are looking to become an active, engaged parent in the life of your child, establishing paternity is often a necessary first step. In most cases, once you do so, you can play and maintain an active role in raising and providing for your child.
Leave assets behind to that child
Once you establish legal paternity in North Carolina, you can also leave certain assets behind to that child after your passing. For example, establishing paternity allows you to name your child a beneficiary on your life insurance policies and other possible assets, giving your child a leg up in the event that you pass on.
Pursue custody or visitation with that child
Determining paternity is also necessary if you wish to pursue custody or visitation with your son or daughter. Numerous studies have shown that children tend to fare better emotionally when their fathers are active in their lives, so taking steps to maintain a close relationship can benefit your child tremendously over time.
Please note that there are distinct differences between establishing paternity in North Carolina and undergoing the process known as legitimization. Whether one option may fit your needs more than the other ultimately depends on your unique situation and circumstances.