Colorado Paternity Lawyers
Protecting the Rights of Fathers in Colorado
Paternity cases involve establishing recognition of a child's biological father, usually through some form of genetic testing. Establishing the biological paternity of your children may be very important, especially because it relates to child custody issues and child support calculations. If a child's paternity is called into question by his or her mother or if the alleged father denies paternity, the child’s mother may have the right to take legal action to file a paternity lawsuit to attain appropriate child support payments.
If you need to contest or establish paternity, reach out to Feldmann Nagel Cantafio PLLC for trusted legal representation. We have more than 100 years of collective legal experience and know how to provide personal attention for each and every one of our clients.
Who Can File a Paternity Suit in Colorado?
Paternity suits can be filed by the mother, father, or child. Either party may file a paternity lawsuit to establish a child’s biological father. Feldmann Nagel Cantafio PLLC is a top-rated family law firm in Denver, Boulder, Vail, and Steamboat Springs, and we understand how sensitive matters of paternity can be for all parties involved. It is our goal to help our clients find the answers they are looking for, so everyone involved establishes rights to parenting time and appropriate child support. If you are seeking child support from the person you believe to be the father of your child, or if you believe you are the father and desire parenting time with your child, you may want to file a paternity action.
How Do I Contest or Establish Paternity in Colorado?
An action for paternity is a legal determination from the court that establishes the child's biological father. In Colorado, the court presumes paternity if the parties are married when the child is born or if an individual's name appears on the birth certificate as the father. To contest or establish paternity, a parent must file a motion with the court requesting that genetic testing occurs with the child or children and the alleged father.
Paternity is usually proven through DNA testing. If the mother or father does not consent to DNA testing as requested by the other parent, the parent desiring the testing may file a motion with the court making this request. If the child's DNA and the father's DNA do not match, paternity is disproved. If the DNA samples match, then paternity may be legally established.
What Does Colorado Law Say About Paternity Claims?
Colorado law (C.R.S. 19-4-105) outlines the following information about paternity claims:
A man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if one of the following is shown to be true:
- He and the child's mother are married to each other, or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage;
- Prior to the birth of the child, he and the child’s natural mother have made an attempt to marry each other, and the child is born during the attempted marriage
- After the child is born, he and the child’s mother have either married or attempted to marry one another, and he has acknowledged that he is the father in writing and filed it in court.
- While the child is under the age of 18, he accepts the child into his home and considers the child his natural child
- He legally acknowledges paternity in writing and files it with the court
- The results of a paternity test show that he is the probable father with a 97% or higher certainty.
*Only clear and convincing evidence can rebut a presumption under this section.
More on Paternity Claims
In order to establish paternity, the mother or potential father must file a Petition in the appropriate county seeking Parental Responsibilities and a Genetic Test in order to provide paternity.
The paternity test may be administered at the hospital or through the child’s physician. Upon receipt of the result, the court will either dismiss the Petition for Parental Responsibilities, if the man is not the natural father or set the matter for hearing.
In some cases, the man may not be the natural father but may have held the child out to be his own during the lifetime of the child. In those cases, there will be a question of a presumptive/psychological/de facto parent where the court will determine if the man is or should be determined to be the father of the child as to maintain the bond and relationship the child has with the man.
What is the Importance of Establishing Paternity?
Establishing paternity is legally significant for a variety of reasons. Any child born to a married couple is legally legitimate. When the baby is born, the father's name will be printed on the child's birth certificate. However, the father does not have to sign the birth certificate for his name to appear on it. The mother can list whomever she thinks the father is or wants the father to be. Colorado paternity law may come into play when a father resents parentage and does not want to be held accountable for expenses related to the child.
Conversely, if a man wants to be acknowledged as the legitimate father of a child, Colorado paternity law allows him to legally establish himself as a parent. If a child is born to unmarried parents, the mother is not allowed to give the child up for adoption until the father gives his consent. In this situation, paternity must be established so that the correct man is acknowledged as the child's father, and the child is put up for adoption legally. If a man believes he deserves visitation rights because he is the child's biological father, but the mother refuses, the father may file to establish paternity to prove that he should be given parenting time.
The child's mother may wish to establish paternity, too. If a child is born out of wedlock, the mother may wish to collect child support to help pay for the child's care, education, medical expenses, and daily living expenses. Paternity guarantees financial security for the child, along with parenting time and other legal privileges.
Paternity is significant to the child, as well. Establishing paternity may be emotionally significant, especially as the child grows older. Eventually, paternity may result in workers' compensation benefits or inheritance if the father dies.
Questions about establishing paternity? Contact the family law attorneys at Feldmann Nagel Cantafio PLLC to discuss your case today.