Judges presiding over most family law courts throughout the United States realize just how important it is for a child’s biological parents to be in their lives. This is why most every state including Connecticut has laws on the books that all parents must follow to establish their parentage and seek out visitation or custody of their kids.
]Babies who are born to married parents are automatically assumed to be the biological offspring of both the mother and the father. Under the law, a married father’s paternity is “presumptive,” or valid until somehow disproven. When a child’s parents aren’t married, however, the father has to establish paternity before being eligible to formally request visitation or custody of their child through the court.
One of the most straightforward ways that a dad can accept responsibility for their child is by executing an acknowledgment of paternity. Both parents must sign this document before it can be filed with the court system. If you’re having difficulty getting the child’s mother to sign the document, then you’ll need to undergo deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing to prove your paternity.
Once complete, a judge will issue a court order acknowledging your paternity over the child. While you’d think that you’d immediately be entitled to enjoy visitation, this isn’t necessarily the case. You and the child’s mother will need to negotiate a parenting plan first before a judge will sign off on any visitation or custody requests. If you can’t agree on the terms, the judge may eventually decide for you.
It’ s always best if you and your child’s mother can reach an agreement about how to share custody — without the court becoming involved. Your family law and divorce attorney can aid you in negotiating with your child’s mother when your efforts to do so haven’t been as fruitful as you might have liked.