Default legal custody

I am wondering where to start, the legal process to ask for sole legal custody for my child, the father is permanetly out of the country, an easy default custody case (am I right that there is no such thing in North Carolina?) I tried calling the courts and they told me that this is only if there is a domestic violence issue or divorce, but I know that there is other ways. Can I file for abandonment even if we are not married? Or where do I start? This is not for support or visitation, only to have full legal authority to make decisions, apply for passports, ect without the father’s “permission”. Thank you in advance for the help you can provide.

There is no such thing as a default in custody. The judge will hold a hearing on custody regardless of whether or not the other parent responds to suit (albeit a formality).

There is no claim for abandonment per se, but allegations of abandonment can be included in your complaint for child custody.