The North Carolina legitimation statute provides that only a father may apply for legitimation by filing a verified written petition (meaning the petition is signed under oath or notarized), in a special proceeding in the superior court of the county in which the supposed father resides or in the superior court of the county in which the child resides. This written petition is simply asking the court to declare the child as legitimate.
The mother and child must be a part of the proceeding. If there is a father listed on the minor child’s birth certificate, he must also be a part of the proceeding. If the court approves the decree of legitimation, a new birth certificate will be issued with the name of the child’s father listed.
The procedures are the same in a situation where a child was born to a mother who is married to another man, except that the spouse of the mother of the child must also be a party to the proceeding. If the child is a minor, a guardian ad litem will be appointed to represent the child’s best interests. This appointment can be requested at the time the initial petition is filed. Often the guardian ad litem must write a report prior to the final hearing on the legitimation.