When a child is born to unmarried parents, Connecticut law makes the birth mother the child’s only legal parent in the absence of a birth certificate listing a father. A legal parent has an obligation to support a child and the right to a relationship with the child. A father who does not establish legal parentage does not have those rights or obligations.
When a mother wishes to get child support from an unacknowledged father or a father seeks parental rights over a child, the man must undergo a paternity test in Guilford. A dedicated attorney can help you understand the process and advocate for your goals if you are involved in a paternity proceeding.
If a man and woman are married when the woman gives birth, the law assumes the husband is the child’s father. An unmarried couple that does not include the father on the birth certificate may acknowledge a father’s biological and legal relationship to a child by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. Both parents must sign and file the document with the Connecticut Department of Health or the Department of Social Services.
In other cases, a court must decide paternity. Connecticut General Statutes 46b-458 allows a mother, a man who believes he is the father, the Connecticut Department of Social Services, or the town’s welfare officer to initiate a paternity action in the state’s courts. A child over 18 can bring an action to establish paternity, but a minor child must do so through a parent or guardian. A Guilford lawyer can help an individual initiate or defend a court action for a paternity test.
If someone initiates an action to determine paternity, a court will issue a statement of parentage if both parents acknowledge the man is the child’s father. If either parent refutes the claim, a court in Guilford will order a paternity test.
The DNA test involves taking a sample of cells from the cheeks of the mother, the alleged father, and the child. DNA can determine the likelihood of a person’s relationship to another person. If the DNA test comes back confirming the man fathered the child, a court will issue the statement of parentage, making the man the child’s legal father.
Once someone becomes a child’s legal parent, they have the obligations of parenthood. They must pay child support and might need to provide a child with health insurance. A child will inherit from a legal father on the same basis as their other children. If the father receives disability or other benefits, the child might also be entitled to support.
Once a court in Guilford establishes that a man is a child’s legal parent through a paternity test, the man has legal obligations. He might also have legal rights to custody, visitation, and decision-making authority, but courts do not always allow a father who has not been involved with the child to exercise those rights.
When courts make decisions regarding a child, they will first consider the child’s best interests. If someone without a significant prior relationship with the child seeks to enforce their parental rights, a court would consider whether involvement in the child’s life would be beneficial or create a negative disruption. A legal representative can help a parent present a persuasive argument for or against a person’s exercise of their parental rights.
A court might review the parents’ relationship with each other and any prior attempts to be in the child’s life. It could assess whether the parents can share custody amicably and work together to support the child’s emotional needs. A court will consider both parents’ histories of domestic violence, child neglect, or substance abuse, if any. A court can deny or limit custody or visitation rights if it finds that involvement in the child’s life would not support the child’s best interests.
A child is at a disadvantage with only one legal parent. If you wish to have support from your child’s father, or you are a father who wants to help provide for his child, a legal representative can help you establish paternity. If you are a man accused of fathering a child you do not believe is yours, a local legal professional can guide you through the paternity proceedings.
Do not try to manage paternity issues without competent legal representation. Contact an attorney for assistance with paternity tests in Guilford today.