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RaRaDad

Seeking Guidance on Custody of Sons

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The following is a request for guidance on how to proceed with my current situation.  I am the father of two young boys, 4 & 5 years old, they have lived with me since birth.  The mother & I have never been married, although we have lived together for the last seven years.  During all those years I have been the sole provider for the family, three months ago she began a new job & now feels that she can support herself & take my children to live with her mother. At this point she is demanding that I leave our home or she will leave with the boys to her mothers home.  

 

In the past she has called the police and filed accusations of abuse, which after being investigated by the Police, were found to be unsubstantiated. Therefore I am seeking a way to protect my children & stand up for my rights as a father.  

 

I take the boys to school every morning & pick them up from school, take them to the park & I am always with them, unless I am at work or school.  What can I do to prevent her from disrupting my children's home & family unit, any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

 

Sincerely, 

 

RaRaDad

 

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When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is presumed to have sole physical and legal custody and the father has no enforceable parental rights whatsoever until there's a court order that says otherwise.  Contrary to popular belief, your name on the children's birth certificates is not by itself sufficient to establish your paternity.

 

To establish and enforce your parental rights, you must file a petition in the appropriate court for a determination of paternity, and obtain a formal, enforceable custody and support order ("parenting plan") that specifies in detail your and the mother's respective rights and obligations concerning the children.  A local family law attorney can advise you how North Carolina's laws apply to your particular circumstances, and help you get started.  Good luck!

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Thank you very much for your insight, sir.  I was unaware of my lack of rights as a father, in a relationship out of wedlock.  So the establishment of my paternity has to be established by a court first and foremost?

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In a word, yes.  You may have signed an acknowledgement of paternity when the child was born prior to the issuance of the birth certificate, and if so that may be all the court requires to establish your paternity.  Otherwise, the court may order DNA testing.  However your paternity is confirmed, you must have a court-approved parenting plan in place before you can enforce your rights.

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