Paternity Law in Colorado
Under the Colorado Uniform Parentage Act, mothers and fathers alike can petition to establish paternity. If the family law court finds that the alleged father is in fact the biological father, it will issue orders regarding parenting, financial rights and the responsibilities of the parents. This process can be confusing and stressful. However, the steps you take now can have a long-lasting impact on the future of your family and your relationships.
Whether you are a mother who wishes to receive financial support from the father or a father who would like to establish paternity and obtain visitation rights with your child, it is necessary to receive guidance from a skilled Denver family law attorney. The experienced paternity lawyers at Kaplan Law, LLC provide superior legal representation and counsel while aggressively advocating for our clients. Please contact us to find out how we can help you.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity benefits the child, the mother and the father. The child will gain support, a sense of belonging and the financial benefits that come with having a father such as medical benefits, disability and inheritance rights. Once paternity is established, the mother will receive help raising and supporting the child. Fathers gain the right to spend time with their child and the right to share responsibility for the child's upbringing.
Establishing Paternity in Denver
It may be helpful to contact the Denver County Department of Social Serviceswhen it is not clear who the father of the child is. They can help parents determine the steps they need to take in order to establish paternity. Mothers often need to serve the alleged father with legal papers naming him the father and asking for child support. Presumed or alleged fathers can also file a request to take a paternity DNA test.
When two people are married at the time of the baby's birth, or if the baby is born within 300 days of their marriage ending, the husband is presumed to be the father. If paternity testing proves that he is not the father, the child's suspected father can either admit paternity or undergo DNA testing.
Generally, there are three ways to legally document paternity in Denver, Colorado: 1) voluntarily signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital or place where the child is born or at the Office of Vital Records and Statistics, 2), by obtaining a Judicial Paternity Order from the court, or 3) by obtaining an Administrative Paternity Order via the Denver County Child Support Office.
Time Limits on Establishing Fatherhood
A man who believes he is not the child's father must fight his designation within five years of the child's birth. A child, however, can bring a paternity action until he or she turns 21, unless paternity has been officially determined. There is an application fee for paternity action and the man will typically be assessed the cost of the paternity test if he turns out to be the father.
What Happens Next
When both parties execute a joint Acknowledgment of Paternity, it will establish who is the father of the child. After 60 days have elapsed, the acknowledgment will become legally binding. However, the acknowledgment does not establish a child support amount or parenting time schedules.
Naming the father is not the same thing as determining custody. In fact, custody and parenting time are not handled by Social Services in the paternity action. If the parents disagree on these matters, they will need to go to Colorado family law court. Determining paternity is just the first step to getting the child the support and attention he or she needs.
Knowing Your Rights
The experienced paternity lawyers at Kaplan Law, LLC can help you through what can be a complex and emotionally draining process. Whether you are seeking to establish paternity or are involved in a paternity contest, our law firm has the necessary legal experience and procedural knowledge to help you obtain a paternity test, establishing visitation rights or collecting child support. To schedule a consultation or to discuss your case, please contact us at (303) 458-5500.