Common questions about establishing paternity

Discover answers to common questions about paternity. Learn how you may run into problems even if you are married to the mother.

The last thing any man wants is to begin divorce proceedings in Colorado and discover that he does not have legal rights as the father of his child. This is very possible if the father was not married to the mother when the child was born. For any father, though, it is important to understand paternity rights and how to establish them.

If I marry my child's mother, do I become the legal father?

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, paternity is established if a man is married to the mother of the child when the child is born. If the mother and father are not married, then paternity has to be established through legal means. Even if a man later marries the mother, if there is no legal establishment of paternity, he could run into issues later, especially in a divorce situation.

How is paternity established?

If the father and mother are not married at the time of the child's birth, there a couple options for establishing paternity. First, if both parents agree, they can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. If both parents are not in agreement, then one parent may go to the court and get a DNA test ordered to establish paternity.

Is there a time limit to establish paternity?

The only limit is that the child must be under the age of 18. At any time before that, the father or mother can begin the process to establish that he is the legal father.

What are the benefits of legal paternity?

There are benefits for both parents and the child. For the child, it helps him or her to have an identity. It provides the chance to have both parents in his or her life. It also provides financial support through child support or other benefits, such as Social Security. It also allows the child to get health insurance coverage from his or her father.

Vert Well Family explains that it also gives the mother a right to request child support. It gives her access to the father's medical history in the event the child is sick and this information is needed. It also allows the father to be involved in the child's life and get visitation rights.

What if the mother was married to someone else when the child was born?

The Colorado Department of Human Services notes that when a mother is married and gives birth, her husband is assumed to be the father. If this is not the case, the mother, her husband and the actual father of the child may sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form or go to court to establish legal paternity.

If you are in a situation where you need to establish paternity, you should seek legal help. An experienced attorney, such as James L. English, P.C., can help you with your case to ensure your rights are upheld.