Many couples decide to wait to marry or not to marry at all, yet still want to have children together. If you are one of these couples, you need to be aware that the legal paternity of your children is not guaranteed since you are unmarried. Under Connecticut family law, the assumption is that the husband of a woman having a child is the legal father, but that presumption does not exist for unmarried parents.

Without a legal determination of parentage, a father does not enjoy all of the legal rights or responsibilities of parenthood. This includes major issues such as custody, visitation and child support, among other things. Fortunately, you can obtain these rights by establishing that you are the biological and legal father of your child, either through an Acknowledgement of Paternity or through a court order.

If your child is born out of wedlock, your name cannot be put onto the birth certificate without first filling out and filing an Acknowledgement of Paternity with the Department of Public Health or the Department of Social Services. Once the form is received and processed, your name will go on the birth certificate. Fortunately, this form can be filled out at the hospital at the time of your child’s birth.

Alternatively, your name cannot be put onto the birth certificate until you receive a court order establishing that you are the child’s legal father. This process often results from questions regarding paternity. The order is then provided to the Department of Public Health, which puts the father’s name on the birth certificate.

In order to fully enjoy being a parent, it would be beneficial to be legally recognized as the child’s father. If your relationship with the mother should end, establishing paternity becomes even more crucial so that you may continue to have a relationship with your child. A Connecticut family law attorney can answer your questions regarding this important process.

Source: ct.gov, “State Vital Records Office – Establishment of Paternity“, Accessed on July 15, 2017