North Carolina Fathers’ Rights 2024 – Know Your Parental Rights

As a father, you matter in the lives of your children, whether you live with them or not. Knowing your rights is crucial in matters of child custody, visitation, and child support. For over 50 years, Lassiter & Lassiter has been serving the community in Statesville and protecting the rights of its clients to have fair representation in their children’s lives. As North Carolina’s fathers’ rights attorneys, we understand the importance of fathers having access to their children, and our team works to protect their time with them.

The guidance of a father in a child’s life has been shown to benefit the child in multiple ways. Children who have a father’s positive influence tend to be more emotionally stable and better able to form social bonds. These children also tend to perform better in school. Studies show that they have higher test scores, better grades, and a greater interest in school functions. Fathers provide a stabilizing influence for their children.

Rights of Fathers in North Carolina

According to state law, fathers have the same legal rights to their children as mothers do. Despite older cultural ideas about mothers always having primary custody, the law protects both parents’ rights to their children. Unless they are somehow unfit, each parent has a say in the decisions concerning education, healthcare, religion, and activities of the child.

All parents have the right to:

  • Personal safety. If a spouse was abusive to you or your child, you have the right to an Order of Protection.
  • Visitation. Without a history of violence, you have a right to spend time with your child.
  • Support. If you will be the primary caretaker, you are entitled to child support from the mother of the child.

If a birth parent or former partner suggests that you can’t visit your child, aren’t the father, or should pay more money to see your child, contact our firm. We can help ensure that your parental rights are protected.

Right to Visitation

A biological father has at least a legal right to visitation with his child. This right is only suspended in cases where the father has been deemed unfit, either due to violence or inability to fulfill his responsibilities. It is important to note that a father may lose his right to visitation if he has not been in contact with his child for six months. An exception to this rule is allowed if the father is on military deployment.

While visitation is a right, it can be denied in certain situations. These include: 

  • A parent does not spend time with the child for six months.
  • The parent has a drug problem.
  • There is a history of violence or abuse.
  • There is the threat of kidnapping.

Rights of Paternity

If your name is on the child’s birth certificate, you are recognized as the father. When you marry the mother of the child after the birth of the child, you are considered the father retroactively. If your name is not on the birth certificate, you can establish paternity by signing a voluntary Affidavit of Parentage. An Affidavit of Parentage must be signed by both parties and is legally binding. Child support, child custody, and visitation can only be determined once paternity is established.

Financial Rights and Responsibilities

Visitation and child support are too important to leave to chance. You will want an experienced legal partner who knows the law to represent you, your interests, and those of your child. Custody and child support considerations also take into account the financial assets of both parents, so it can become quite challenging to navigate the process while you are dealing with the emotional upheaval involved.

Partner with a Statesville fathers’ rights attorney to work through this complex legal process. You need someone on your side to make sure that all claims are filed, and all your wishes are supported.

FAQs About North Carolina Fathers’ Rights

Can a Child Choose the Custodial Parent?

There are no requirements in North Carolina that a judge must abide by a child’s decision of which parent to live with. In some cases, a judge may take this into consideration. The judge is not, however, bound by the wishes of the child. If the child is old enough to give a more informed opinion, the judge is more likely to listen to their preferences.

What Are a Father’s Parental Rights in North Carolina?

A father has the same legal rights as the mother. He has a right to visitation, custody, and child support, just as a mother would. In North Carolina, there is no rule that the mother should be awarded custody. Both parents are considered equal unless there is a determination of abuse or unfitness. Also, being absent from the child for six months can negate a parent’s claim for custody of their child.

Can a Mother Deny a Father Access in NC?

A mother cannot deny a father visitation in North Carolina unless an allegation of abuse or the inability of the father to care for the child is proven in court. Only the court can deny a parent access to their child. Visitation would not be allowed in cases of physical abuse, drug use, or a history of child neglect.

At What Age Can a Child Refuse to See a Parent in North Carolina?

The visitation order is in effect until the child reaches eighteen or is legally emancipated. A child cannot refuse court-ordered visitation. Communication with the other parent is recommended to resolve the matter. If a child is old enough to form a rational opinion, they can testify on their own behalf regarding their intent as to visitation.

What Rights Does a Father Have If He Is Not on the Birth Certificate in NC?

If paternity is not established through marriage or by being on the birth certificate, a father will not have a legal claim to the child. If a father is not on the birth certificate in North Carolina, he will need to establish paternity by filing an Affidavit of Parentage. This affidavit must be signed by both parties and is legally binding.

Experienced and Compassionate Fathers’ Rights Attorneys

Nothing is more important than your relationship with your child. When charting a plan for the future of your family, let Lassiter & Lassiter take care of all the complex legal proceedings involved in family law. With all the uncertainty that comes with figuring out your future and that of your child, our experience in Statesville makes us the partner you can count on. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Call our office at 704-873-2295 or email us today.

Attorney Mike Lassiter grew up in Statesville, makes his living serving the people of Statesville and published a book capturing the changing landscape of small town life across North Carolina and Iredell County. His keen sense of history, dedication to the area and 30 years of legal experience make him an ideal attorney for your legal needs.

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