Curious about how paternity cases work in Colorado? This is the blog for you! Whether you're a father wanting to contest paternity or a mother pursuing a paternity suit, understanding the process better can help you navigate your case.
To schedule a consultation with our team for your custody case, contact us online or via phone at (303) 647-4245.
How Does Paternity Get Established in Colorado?
Generally, parents must jointly sign and execute a State of Colorado Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity to establish paternity for a child. If the parents agree that one party is the biological father and both want parenting rights, they must jointly sign this form. This separates Colorado from some other states, which may assume paternity depending on who the mother is married to at the time of birth.
If you recently had a child and are wondering if the baby is yours, it's important to note that voluntary acknowledgments are not effective immediately. They go into effect 60 days after signing, so parents have a 60-day window to contest paternity.
To establish paternity without a voluntary acknowledgment, one party must file for paternity as a court action. Individuals who can file for paternity include:
- The party who believes they are the biological father;
- The biological mother;
- The child, although they must use a personal representative to file the case if they have no yet reached the age of majority (18 years or older);
- The department of social services in the county where the child was born;
- A legal representative filing on behalf of an individual who is deceased, incapacitated, or was a minor at the time of the child's birth.
Paternity actions are typically filed with district courts. District courts represent multiple counties, so you may need to travel to another county to file for paternity.
What Happens Once a Paternity Action Is Filed?
Generally, the court will order the alleged father to submit to genetic testing. If they refuse, the court may take the refusal as an admission of guilt.
If genetic testing or a refusal to submit to it proves the alleged father is the child's biological parent, their name will be added to the child's birth certificate. The father will also be responsible for:
- Paying for child support;
- Helping pay for the child's healthcare;
- Establishing a custody arrangement with the other parent, which may incorporate a visitation schedule and legal or physical custody rights;
- Payment of genetic testing and court fees associated with the paternity action, if it was filed by another individual than the father.
At the Law Office of Alexandra White, P.C., we'll help you find the best path forward in your paternity case. Contact us online or via phone at (303) 647-4245 to schedule a consultation with our team.