How Do You Establish Paternity?
Sometimes parents wonder how to establish paternity. The answer depends on your particular situation — for example, whether you are married or unmarried.
Read on to learn more.
Unmarried Parents and Paternity
For unmarried parents, there are two routes to establishing paternity and naming a father on a birth certificate. If the parents do not take either path, paternity is not established and no father will be named on the birth certificate.
The two routes to paternity for unmarried couples are:
- Both parents acknowledge paternity, or
- A court establishes paternity.
For purposes of establishing paternity, Connecticut considers a mother unmarried if she is both:
- Umarried at the time her child is born, and
- Has not been married at any time between conception and the birth of the child.
Acknowledgment of Paternity
Unmarried parents can voluntarily establish paternity by completing the Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital or a local DSS office. Paternity is legally established once the Acknowledgement of Paternity is signed by both parents.
Another way to establish paternity is through a court order. Court-ordered paternity is necessary when either:
- the parents disagree about the identity of the father, or
- either parent is unwilling to sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
The judge will usually order genetic (DNA) testing to determine paternity. If paternity is established through a court order, you next submit a certified copy of the court order to the Department of Public Health. Then, the father’s name will be included on the child’s birth certificate.
Married Parents and Paternity
If parents are married at the time a child is born, the law presumes that both spouses are the baby’s parents and both will appear on the birth certificate.
Non-Biological Married Parents and Paternity
If one spouse isn’t biologically related to the couples’ child, they should likely still complete a co-parent or second-parent adoption. In other words, if you conceived your child through assisted reproductive technology or IVF including donor egg or sperm, you will want to adopt. This is true even though both parents appear on the birth certificate.
A child born to married Connecticut spouses is presumed to be the child of both parents. However, that presumption is rebuttable based upon biology. Otherwise put, a known donor or even an unknown donor may attempt to assert parentage over his or her biological child. In some cases, a disgruntled spouse may attempt to, for example, avoid child support by arguing that a child born into the marriage is not his or her biological child. In other divorce cases, one spouse may argue that the other has no right to custody of a child that isn’t the other spouse’s biological child.
A co-parent adoption is a Connecticut legal process in which a child who is the biological child of one spouse is adopted by a non-biological parent. After the adoption, the child has two legal parents. Unlike when a couple relies on the presumption, adoption is not rebuttable.
Read: Unmarried Couples
Same-Sex Married Spouses and Paternity
If you’re a married same-sex spouse who isn’t biologically related to your child, you should also do a co-parent adoption. This is the case for all of the reasons listed above for any non-bio married parent. Additionally, although all states are constitutionally required to recognize your marriage, they are not required to recognize you as a parent of the children born into your marriage. However, all states must recognize the validity of adoptions under the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution. In other words, once you complete your co-parent adoption, you have full legal rights to your children in all 5o states.