Paternity & Termination of Parental Rights


NC General Statute § 49-14 provides how to establish paternity when a child is born out of wedlock. The action must be filed prior to the child’s eighteenth birthday and no action can be filed after the death of the putative father, except in special circumstances regarding the putative father’s estate. Often, paternity needs to be established to pursue child support. Once paternity is established, the rights and obligations of both parents for the support of the child can be determined and enforced as if the child were the legitimate child of the parents.


This is one of, if not the most serious proceeding in family law. This action is most often sought where a parent has abandoned, abused, failed to support, or neglected a child. The court must find statutory grounds for termination and that termination is in the best interest of the child. Consulting with our firm prior to making the decision to pursue this claim is very important due to the complexity of the procedures and proof required to successfully pursue this claim. If the legal relationship between a parent and a child is terminated, that parent has no legal rights to direct, control, or even have a relationship with the child. However, the parent whose rights are terminated has no obligation to pay child support for the child that accrues after the parent’s rights have been terminated.