The Basics of Paternity Lawsuits in Colorado

Father with childPaternity lawsuits may be filed to officially prove or even disprove a child’s biological father. Establishing the biological paternity of a child is very important, as it relates to other legal issues such as a father’s custody rights, visitation rights, financial obligations, and moral obligations to a child.

An action for paternity refers to a legal determination from the court to ascertain a child’s biological father. Colorado courts presume paternity if the individual’s name appears on a child’s birth certificate as the father, or if both parties are married when the child is born. In order to establish or contest paternity, either parent must file a motion with the court.

Establishing paternity is significant for various reasons. In Colorado, any child born to a married couple is deemed legally legitimate. The father’s name appears on the child’s birth certificate when the child is born—although the father does not need to sign the birth certificate in order for his name to appear on the document. As such, the mother may possibly choose to write the name of the person she believes to be the father, or wishes the father to be. The father may then resent parentage, and may not want to be held accountable for child-related expenses.

A child’s mother may be entitled to file a paternity lawsuit if the man she believes to be the father of her child denies being the child’s father. Establishing paternity will entitle her to collect child support for the child—possibly dating back to the date the child was born. If paternity is determined, the father will also gain all the rights and responsibilities associated with fatherhood.

On the other hand, Colorado paternity law allows a man to establish himself as a legal parent if he wants to be properly acknowledged as a child’s legitimate father. If a man believes he is the child’s biological father and should be given visitation or custody rights but the mother refuses, then the father may file a paternity lawsuit to establish parentage to prove he should be given rights and responsibilities associated with fatherhood. He may also be required to pay child support if he gains the responsibilities and rights of fatherhood.

Of course, a paternity lawsuit may also be filed to disprove parentage. This occurs when either the mother or presumed father believes that he is not actually the child’s biological father. If paternity is disproven, then the presumed father will be ordered to end his legal obligation to the child. He may also lose all legal rights and responsibilities that involve the child.

In order to establish a child’s father, it is also possible for a child or a child’s representatives to file a paternity lawsuit. These cases are typically handled by a child support enforcement agency to ensure the child receives the necessary financial support for his or her care.

When determining paternity, numerous factors are taken into consideration. The court may order genetic testing to conclusively establish whether the alleged father is indeed the child’s biological father. Once a determination is made, the judge makes a ruling on any related issues. Parties, however, may also decide to come to an agreement on their own.