For unmarried couples, does having the father’s name on the birth certificate make the child legitimate?

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For unmarried couples, does having the father’s name on the birth certificate make the child legitimate?

And if so, what does that mean in terms of custody if the parents aren’t together?

Asked on August 23, 2012 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Let's not use the terms "legitimate" or "illegitimate" here.  They seem to make the birth of your child seem something other than what it is: a wonderful thing.  Now, if a couple is unmarried at the time of the birth of the child the only legal guardian of the child is the Mother. But the father can execute an Affidavit of Paternity and that would then establish his legal rights - which can take the place of a court action to determine parentage  - under the law.  He can make an application to the courts at any time for custody and visitation if you can not agree.  Good luck.


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