What are a Father’s Rights in North Carolina?

Dad-RightsWhat are a Father’s Rights in North Carolina?

A child has two biological parents, and both often play important roles in their life. Although a mother gives birth, both the mother and father have rights and responsibilities. Generally, both parents are allowed to spend time with their children. One parent typically has physical custody of the child, while the other has regular visitation. Both parents often share legal custody that allows them to make important decisions for their child regarding health, education, religion, and more. An experienced family law attorney will help protect your parental rights.


Can a Father Get Custody?

Although both parents usually make decisions on behalf of their child, most times, a child will reside primarily with one parent. That parent is sometimes called the custodial parent. In North Carolina, both the mother and father are presumed to be equally able to care for their child. While children are still more likely to live with their mothers, a father can get primary custody of their child. In divorce, the court will review the requests of the parties, and if the couple cannot agree, the judge will make a determination. If the couple is unmarried, the parent may go to court to resolve the matter.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”


What are the Rights of a Father?

As a parent, the father of a child has the right to make decisions about the health and care of the child. They also have the right to spend time with the child. When a child does not live with the father, they will likely be able to have regular visitation. In addition, fathers also have the responsibility to provide care for their children. In most cases, the non-custodial parent pays child support for the well-being of the child. The courts will order child support, custody, and visitation. If you do not obtain a court order, the mother could prevent the father from spending time with the child.


What Happens if the Father is Not on the Birth Certificate?newborn-baby-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Family-Attorney

When a child is born, the hospital completes the birth certificate to include the names of both the mother and father. If the parents are not married, the father’s name is generally left off the certificate. However, if the father acknowledges parentage at birth, they will include his name on the birth certificate. This is the easiest way to establish paternity. If you establish paternity at a later time, they will amend the birth certificate to include the father’s name.


How to Establish Paternity

Before a father can legally get custody or visitation rights, he must establish that he is the biological parent. Today, establishing paternity is easily done with a simple paternity test. Either parent may establish paternity through the courts. The court will not order child support without first establishing paternity. Another way to establish paternity is with a voluntary affidavit of paternity. Once you establish legal paternity, you can seek court orders concerning custody, visitation, and child support.


Issues that involve a child are often very complicated. Parents can seek legal guidance to help them navigate matters such as custody, visitation, and support. To find out more about a father’s rights in North Carolina, get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



Paternity legal definition of paternity (thefreedictionary.com)

child support | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)


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