January 28, 2016

In North Carolina, when a child is born in the hospital the parents that are present in the hospital are asked to sign an affidavit swearing that they are the biological parent of the minor child. When a parent’s name appears on the official birth certificate, there is a presumption under the law that the person is in fact the biological parent of the minor child. Whether or not a person is the actual biological parent of a minor child becomes very important in child support cases. Obviously, a non-relative of the minor child generally does not wish to pay court-ordered child support for a child that is not biologically their own.

We often have clients contacting the firm claiming they are not the biological father of a minor child, but the client’s name appears on the minor child’s birth certificate. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Vital Records Department manages the issuance and amendments of birth certificates. DHHS requires a certified court order, signed by a judge, authorizing a change in a birth certificate in order to process any amendments to a birth certificate. Our firm has successfully assisted clients in removing their name from a minor child’s birth certificate when we have been able to obtain an accredited DNA test proving the alleged father is in fact not the biological father to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. It has also been helpful when the actual biological father is known, and is willing to assume any financial responsibilities related to the minor child. If the actual biological father is unknown, or is unwilling to accept his parental responsibilities things can get much more complicated because the court system does not like to make a minor child a ward of the State (i.e. allow the minor child and/or the Mother to fall under a public benefits plan- food stamps, Medicaid, etc.). Therefore, time is of the essence because the longer an alleged Father takes to raise his objection as to paternity, the weaker his case gets. If the alleged father pays child support for years before raising any objections, courts may take the position that the father should have acted sooner. Whether or not the alleged father is the actual biological father, the alleged father may still be found to be responsible for financially supporting the minor child even though he would be a non-relative because he waited too long to contest paternity.

We would like to help you if you are listed on a minor child’s birth certificate or have been ordered to pay child support for a minor child, for which you are not the biological parent thereof. It seems unfair to require a non-relative to pay child support for minor child, but it can and does happen often. Again, time is of the essence, so if you have any reason to believe you are not the biological parent of a minor child contact us today to see if we can help prevent a child support order from being issued against you, or to terminate an existing child support order in place.