When a married couple has a child, the husband is generally presumed to be the child’s father. However, there is no legal presumption of fatherhood when a child is born to unmarried parents. Without a formal establishment of paternity, the father, mother, and child may lose certain fundamental legal rights.
Whether you are a man who believes you are the father of a child and wants to secure your parental rights or a mother whose child’s father is not fulfilling his obligations, an experienced Hartford paternity lawyer can help. Our knowledgeable family attorneys are well-versed in state law and understand the benefits of establishing fatherhood for everyone involved.
Establishing fatherhood is more than just adding a name to a birth certificate. There are significant advantages to determining a child’s legal father. Without an adjudication of paternity, a man has no right to court-ordered time with his child or to make decisions affecting his child, such as where they will attend school or what type of medical care the child should receive.
Additionally, establishing paternity enables a mother to request child support from the father. It also allows her to share parenting responsibilities with the child’s other biological parent, who will presumably care for the child as much as the mother does.
An attorney can also assist a parent in establishing paternity to access additional advantages in Hartford. For example, a significant reason to establish paternity for a child is to provide him or her with stability and the right to financial and emotional support from both parents. A child also benefits from learning about the father’s family and medical history and securing the right to inheritance and health insurance.
There are three ways to establish paternity in Connecticut. It is essential to understand the different legal requirements for each to help ensure that the correct legal father is identified.
If the parents agree that the man is the child’s biological father, Connecticut General Statutes §46b-172 permits them to sign a sworn Acknowledgment of Paternity either at the hospital when the child is born or at a later date. The parents must then file this form with the local Department of Social Services or the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Once it is processed, the father’s name will be included on the child’s birth certificate, usually within four to six weeks.
When parents disagree on the identity of a child’s father, it may be necessary to obtain a court order to establish paternity. Either the alleged father or the mother may file an action at any time before the child turns 18. If the child receives state assistance, the Department of Social Services or a town welfare administrator may also file a petition.
If the case proceeds to court, a judge may order the alleged father to submit to genetic testing. If the test confirms his paternity, the court will issue a formal Order of Paternity, submit it to the Department of Public Health, and add the father’s name to the birth certificate. Because the legal process in Hartford can be complex, an individual should be represented by a knowledgeable paternity attorney.
Establishing paternity can be a complicated process, depending on whether the parents agree on how to proceed. Therefore, it is essential to understand your options and the rights and obligations you will have once paternity is established.
A Hartford paternity lawyer can assist you with preparing and filing the necessary paperwork. Call today to learn more about the process and to get started.