Colorado Family Law: How to Establish Paternity in the Eyes of the Law

Establishing paternity of a child is one of the first major decisions that will affect your new baby’s life. Depending on the circumstances, this action might be very easy and straightforward, or there might be other factors that make this a difficult process to complete. When it comes to paternity in Colorado, there are several ways to legally navigate these proceedings so that the child can benefit throughout their lifetime.

When the Situation Is Clear-Cut

When a husband and wife have a child together, the issue of paternity is virtually handled by itself. Upon the birth of the child, the hospital will have the husband sign papers establishing that he is the paternal father. This is called the “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form, and can also be used for couples who are very clear on the issue of paternity but might not be legally married.

Once the form is signed, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate. There is a 60 day time frame in which changes can be made; beyond this period, the man is permanently deemed to be the father and will be responsible for taking care of the child.

Paternity in Complex Situations

If questions arise as to who the father of the child is, even if the mother is clear but the father denies it, establishing paternity can become more involved. When paternity is in question, a number of people are allowed to begin a court case, including the mother of the child, a representative of the child if the child is under 18, or even the man who is being named as the father.

Ultimately, a judge has the final say when it comes to assigning paternity for any child under the age of 18. Many districts prefer to have genetic testing performed in order to know for sure who the father is, but even if this isn’t done, a man can be granted paternity and will be held responsible for paying child support and other benefits.

When it’s unclear who the father of a child is, it’s in the child’s best interests to bring the issue to the court, as this can affect their overall livelihood. Judges can grant things like visitation and legal custody in addition to support orders, and these are all huge factors that can influence a child’s upbringing.

If you live in Colorado and have questions about establishing paternity for your child, contact Hulbert & Associates today. We know this topic is sensitive and deserves careful consideration, so we will help to support you in every way we can.

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Written by Lori Hulbert

Together the attorneys of the firm have nearly 30 years of experience in the fields of estate planning, estate and trust administration, estate and trust litigation, guardianships and conservatorships and civil litigation.