A Father’s Rights to a Child Born Out of Wedlock in Connecticut: Understanding the Legal Landscape

The concept of family and parental rights has evolved significantly over the years, recognizing the importance of both parents in a child’s life, regardless of marital status. Connecticut, like many other states, has established laws and regulations to protect the rights of fathers when it comes to children born out of wedlock. In this blog post, we will explore the rights and responsibilities of fathers in Connecticut and shed light on the legal landscape surrounding this topic.

Legal Paternity Establishment:

In Connecticut, when a child is born to unmarried parents, the establishment of paternity is crucial to determining the father’s rights and responsibilities. There are several ways to establish legal paternity, including:

  • Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity:

If both parents agree on the child’s paternity, they can complete and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form at the hospital or later through the Department of Public Health. This document legally establishes the father’s paternity and rights.

  • Genetic Testing:

If there is a dispute regarding paternity or if either parent contests the VAP, genetic testing can be requested. The court may order DNA testing to determine paternity accurately.

Legal Rights of the Father:

Once paternity is established, fathers in Connecticut have rights and responsibilities similar to those of married fathers. These rights include:

  • Custody and Visitation:

Unmarried fathers have the right to seek custody or visitation rights. Connecticut courts make decisions based on the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the child’s needs, the parent’s ability to provide a stable environment, and the nature of the parent-child relationship.

  • Legal Decision-Making:

Fathers have the right to participate in major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Co-parenting and joint decision-making are encouraged, as long as it serves the child’s best interests.

  • Financial Support:

Just like married fathers, unmarried fathers have an obligation to provide financial support for their child. The court may order child support payments based on the child support guidelines outlined in Connecticut law.

  • Establishing a Parenting Plan:

To ensure a smooth co-parenting arrangement and protect the rights of both parents, it is essential to establish a comprehensive parenting plan. This plan outlines the child’s visitation schedule, decision-making responsibilities, and other important aspects of co-parenting. While it is encouraged for parents to create a plan together, the court can step in to determine the plan if an agreement cannot be reached.


Connecticut recognizes the significance of a father’s role in the life of a child, regardless of marital status. Fathers of children born out of wedlock have rights and responsibilities similar to those of married fathers, including the right to seek custody, visitation, and participation in major decisions. Establishing legal paternity is crucial, and both parents should actively participate in creating a parenting plan that ensures the child’s best interests are met. It is always advisable to seek legal guidance and support to navigate the complexities of family law and protect the rights of all parties involved.