Paternity in a Colorado Divorce
Protecting Fathers’ Rights in Denver Since 1997
While any divorce can be stressful, the issue of paternity—the legal status of being a child’s biological father—can heighten the stakes during the legal proceedings.
Establishing biological paternity through genetic testing can alter the playing field when it comes to child support, child custody, and other factors involved in a Colorado divorce. Whether you’re a dad wishing to prove paternity to receive parenting time or a mother in need of child support from the child’s biological parent, you have the right to file a paternity action in court.
Who Can File a Paternity Action in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, paternity lawsuits can be filed by various people to establish a child’s biological father, including:
- The mother
- The child (or the child’s personal representative if they’re a minor)
- The father, the man who believes he is the father, or the man who has been formerly identified as the father (also known as the “putative father”)
- A county department of social services
- A legal representative of someone who has the right to establish paternity, but is deceased, incapacitated, or a minor.
If you’re wondering if taking legal action to determine paternity is the best path forward, consider the following questions to determine if requesting a paternity test is the right step for you:
- Did you have a child with your spouse while unmarried?
- Have you experienced any doubt that you’re the father of your child?
- Are you the alleged father of a marriage headed for divorce?
Benefits of Filing a Paternity Action
Whether you’ve already filed for divorce or are just starting to question your child’s biological parentage, requesting a paternity test is rarely a bad idea. There are various benefits to seeking the answers you need. A paternity test can:
- Spare you from significant financial burdens
- Achieve peace of mind
- Strengthen your bond with your child
- Improve your child’s quality of life
- Provide closure for yourself and your family
- Increase your child’s sense of identity and belonging
- Establish the legal rights of both parents
The Importance of Establishing Paternity in a Divorce
There are various reasons why a parent may find it necessary to establish paternity in court. For divorced fathers, paying court-ordered child support can have a lasting impact on their lives. For divorced mothers, raising a child without financial support from the other biological parent can take a major toll on their health and financial stability.
When a child is born to unmarried parents or paternity is questioned by either spouse, the mother or father is legally allowed to petition the court to establish paternity. Doing so can help clarify each parent’s legal rights going forward.
The results of a paternity test can have life-altering consequences in a divorce, especially when it comes to issues such as child custody and child support. This is one of many reasons why it’s imperative to seek reliable legal counsel from an experienced divorce attorney, as a comprehensive knowledge of family law is essential to navigating the complexities of paternity in court.
Do you need to contest or establish paternity? Don’t wait to take action. Call our firm today at (303) 225-3343 to discuss your case with a skilled Denver divorce lawyer.
Paternity According to Colorado Law
Each state has its own set of laws and regulations concerning paternity, marriage, and divorce. It’s important to have a general understanding of Colorado state laws to know how paternity tests work and what to expect in court.
The state of Colorado establishes paternity in one of two ways:
- Voluntarily. This means that both parents agree on who the father is.
- Court action. In these cases, a judge determines who the child’s father is, in addition to the father’s rights and responsibilities.
There are various scenarios in which the Colorado court presumes a man to be the father, including:
- The man and the biological mother attempted to marry and the child was born during that attempt.
- The man and the biological mother are married or have been married, and the child was born during the marriage.
- The man and the biological mother married or attempted to marry after the child's birth, and the man acknowledged that he is the father.
- The man legally acknowledges paternity in writing and files it with the court.
- The man accepts the child (under 18 years old) into his home and considers them to be his natural child.
- The paternity test reveals that the man is the probable father (97% or higher).
How to File a Paternity Suit in Colorado
If you wish to file a court action to obtain a paternity test, you must take the proper steps:
- Locate your local court. The Colorado court system consists of district courts that cover multiple counties. You should file your case with the court in which the child or putative father resides.
- Complete the required paperwork to start the case. You will be known as the “Petitioner.” Click here for detailed instructions on how to complete the forms.
- File the forms with the court.
- Serve the papers. You’re not obligated to serve the papers yourself. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to arrange for personal service and how to obtain proof of service for the court.
- Determine whether the alleged parent is the biological parent. If either parent wishes to move forward with genetic testing against the other parent’s wishes, you must complete and file a Motion of Genetic Testing form with the court.