A man who fathers a child outside of marriage has no legal connection to the child unless he takes steps to establish paternity. Legal paternity bestows parental rights and obligations on a man and provides his child the benefits of having two parents.

Contact a Fairfield paternity lawyer when you want to establish paternity for your child or defend a paternity action if you do not believe a child is yours. A legal professional can review your circumstances and help you achieve your goals. Reach out to one of our child custody attorneys to learn more about your options.

A Voluntary Acknowledgment Can Bestow Parental Rights

When an unmarried couple has a baby, they can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital. The facility forwards the form with the birth record to Connecticut’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. Once recorded, the father has full parental rights and his name will appear on the child’s birth certificate.

Both parents must complete the form and it must be notarized. Hospitals provide notaries who can help a couple execute the form.

If the parents do not sign the form at the hospital, they can do it later. Local offices of the Department of Social Services have copies of the form. However, a delay in completing the acknowledgment could require amending the birth certificate, and there will be a charge for that service. An attorney in Fairfield can elaborate on the specifics of claiming paternity through this option.

Pursuing or Defending a Paternity Action in Court

Sometimes parents will not agree to sign an acknowledgment of paternity. If one parent wishes to establish paternity later, they must bring an action to establish paternity in court. A Fairfield lawyer can help a parent bring a paternity action or defend against one.

The parent wishing to prove paternity files a petition with the court and serves the other parent or alleged parent. When the parents do not agree to acknowledge paternity before the court hearing, the judge will order a genetic test. The court will issue a declaration of parentage if the test indicates a close biological relationship between the man and child.

Legal paternity includes the obligation to pay child support, as well as the right to a relationship with their child. However, a court will base its decision on the child’s best interests. For example, substantial visitation or parenting time might not be appropriate if the father has no previous relationship with the child.

Establishing Parentage for LGBTQ Couples

Many same-sex couples use assisted reproductive technology (ART) to have a child. In such cases, the parent with the biological relationship with the child is their only legal parent unless the parent’s partner takes steps to establish parentage.

Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-477 allows the biological parent and the other partner to sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage. This procedure is the same as for unmarried opposite sex couples—both parents sign the form, it is notarized, the hospital submits it to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, both parents appear on the birth certificate, and both have full parental rights.

Although this procedure makes both parents legal parents in Connecticut, other states and countries may not honor the designation. The non-biological parent should adopt the child to ensure their parental rights will be respected if they relocate. A Fairfield attorney can explain the adoption process and why it is a necessary step for same-sex parents in paternity cases.

Consult a Fairfield Attorney About Paternity Issues

A child benefits from having two legal parents. Children gain additional financial support, the love and guidance of both parents, and an opportunity to connect with extended family. On the other hand, parenthood is a huge responsibility. You should defend against a paternity action if you do not believe you are the child’s father.

A Fairfield paternity lawyer can provide advice and skilled representation to help you meet your goals. Schedule a consultation today.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
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