How to Legitimate a Child in North Carolina

How to Legitimate a Child in North Carolina

Legitimation is a legal action that allows a father to claim parentage over a child.  It is important to legitimate children so that they can enjoy the same rights and privileges enjoyed by children born to married parents.

Effects of legitimation include:

  • The right of the child to inherit property from the father if he dies without a will;
  • The right of the child to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the father;
  • The right of the child to receive child support from the father;
  • The right to visit with the father (a child custody action may be necessary to ensure custodial time);

People often wonder if an action to establish paternity in a child support case or an affidavit of parentage are enough to legitimate a child in North Carolina.  Sadly, that is not the case.  Below are the only ways of legitimating a child in North Carolina, depending on the circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.

Children Born During the Marriage:

Children born during the marriage are presumed to be the child of the wife’s husband.  However, the true father may file an action in special proceedings court to legitimate the child as his own.  If he does, there is an option for the parties to enter a consent order with the approval of the clerk of superior court.

Children Born Out of Wedlock:

If a child is born out of wedlock, he or she may be legitimated by the subsequent marriage of the biological mother and father.  Alternatively, the father may file an action in special proceedings court to legitimate the child as his own.

If you need help establishing your parental rights, speak with a knowledgeable North Carolina family law attorney today.

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