Father’s Rights in Colorado
In Colorado, fathers have a constitutional right to parent their children—a right that is equal to that of the mother. The visitation, custody, and support arrangements decided by the court will be based on what is viewed as the best situation for the child.
However, since the mother is often assumed to be the main caregiver for their children, the rights of a father can sometimes be overlooked.
How Can I Protect My Rights as a Father?
While both parents have equal rights when it comes to child custody in Colorado, the first step in claiming your rights is establishing paternity. Keep reading to learn how our team at Denver Family Lawyers can help protect your rights as a father.
Establishing Paternity in Colorado
In Colorado, state law dictates that a child born into a marriage assumes the mother’s husband as the father — which means in some cases, this may not be the biological father of the child. Issues of paternity typically arise most in cases where the parents of the child are unmarried. There are two ways to establish paternity in Colorado:
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Forms
This is the easiest way to establish paternity in the state of Colorado. After signing, this form is sent to the court, solidifying the child’s father legally, after which his name can be added to the child’s birth certificate.
The father of the child will also now assume all legal rights and responsibilities of raising and caring for that child, arranging child custody and visitation with the child’s mother where appropriate.
In situations where determining paternity is more complicated, court action may be needed to solidify a father’s paternal rights. According to Colorado law, the following individuals have the ability to submit a paternity action to the court:
- The child’s mother.
- Any man believed to be the child’s father.
- The child, if over the age of 18.
- The child with the help of a representative if the child is underaged.
- Social services or the Colorado Department of Human resources.
- Legal representation for anyone permitted to bring a paternity action (including those who are minors, deceased, or incarcerated.)
Who Can Submit the Action?
If a child is submitting the action themselves, they have the right to file until they turn 21. Otherwise, the action must be filed when the child is under 18 years old. Once filed, the judge will likely request genetic testing to confirm paternity. After paternity is established, the court can also begin to award additional orders such as child custody, support, and visitation rights.Whether you are entering into a divorce, are unmarried with children, or are a divorced father looking to protect his existing rights, our team of fathers’ rights lawyers at Denver Family Lawyers can help. We have 20 years of family law and courtroom experience and are prepared to relentlessly advocate for your rights.
Contact us at (303) 225-3343 to schedule your free consultation!