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Connecticut law provides a legal mechanism, known as Paternity action, to determine parental rights and responsibilities of minor children and to create orders for child support, payment of medical bills and birth expenses. The statutes providing for paternity actions present several benefits for unwed parents—and contain several pitfalls for the unwary.

The court can order:

  • DNA testing
  • Child support
  • Retroactivity of child support for up to three years—whether paternity was known or not
  • Payment of medical bills for birth, commonly known as “lying-in expenses”
  • Payment of future medical bills for the child
  • Payment of attorney’s fees

Many actions are commenced by the State, acting through the Support Enforcement division of the Court as a result an application for State benefits filed by a parent. The State in this situation has an obligation to hold the other parent responsible for the support of children. All 50 states have reciprocity agreements that allow one state to use the support enforcement mechanisms of one state to impose or enforce orders for residents of another.

The 1st lesson—never assume that because the other parent lives in another state, the court cannot act.

The 2nd lesson—never assume. Period.

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