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Colorado Paternity Law
In Colorado, a paternity action is governed by the Uniform Parentage Act. A paternity action is necessary when the natural parent of a child is not known or agreed to. If parentage is established, the paternity action may also deal with issues such as child support, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time between the child and his parents.
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In any paternity action, it is important to consider the appropriate legal forum where the case may be brought. A paternity action may be brought in Colorado if the child was conceived in Colorado or the presumed father resides in Colorado. There are many judicial districts within the state of Colorado, and the venue lies in the county in which the child resides, the mother resides, or the alleged father resided or is found.
Paternity actions are most commonly commenced by a natural parent of the child, but they can be brought by either (1) a child, or guardian ad litem of the child; (2) the child’s natural mother, whether married or unmarried at the time the child was conceived, or her personal representative or parent if the mother has died; (3) a man alleged or alleging himself to be the natural father, or his personal representative or parent if the father has died; (4) a presumed father as defined in the Act, or his personal representative or parent if the presumed father has died; or (5) the child support enforcement agency for the purpose of declaring the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship.
Work With An Attorney To Ensure You Meet Time Constraints
There are strict timing concerns when addressing any paternity issues. It is always important to discuss these types of issues with a Denver divorce attorney to make sure your rights are not barred by time. In general, an action to determine the existence of the father and child relationship may be brought at any time prior to the child’s 18th birthday by the mother or father of the said child, by the child or by the delegated child support enforcement agency. If, however, the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the child’s birth was less than 18 years, the delegated child support enforcement agency may bring an action on behalf of the said child at any time prior to the child’s twenty-first birthday. An action brought by a child whose paternity has not been determined may be brought at any time prior to the child’s 21st birthday.
The Colorado Legislature has attempted to reduce the litigation over parentage of children and has adopted a series of presumptions of parentage.
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In Colorado, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if (1) the child is born within 300 days of the termination of a valid marriage or a marriage that was, in fact, invalid but the parties were acting as though the marriage was valid; (2) after the child’s birth, the father and the child’s natural mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and, either (a) the father acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the department of health; or (b) with his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or (c) the father is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order or by administrative order; or (d), while the child is under the age of majority, the alleged father receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child; or (e) parentage is established by genetic testing; or (f) the father executes a voluntary, written acknowledgment of paternity of the child signed by him under oath which is filed with the department of health and not disputed by the mother.
In most cases, the Court will require DNA testing or another reliable genetic testing when there is a dispute as to parentage. DNA testing is economic and very reliable.
Once parentage is determined, the court will then enter orders regarding child support, parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. There are many issues to be considered in any paternity matter. The law offices of Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., specialize in all types of family law matters. Our experienced Denver family attorneys can answer any questions you may have regarding paternity law in Colorado. Call us at 303-951-4506 or complete an intake form to schedule a consultation.