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How to Establish Paternity

There are several ways to establish paternity in Colorado, depending on whether the identity of the father is known or disputed. Whether you are a mother or a potential father, you can use this helpful step-by-step guide to establish paternity in Colorado.

How to Establish Paternity When the Father’s Identity Is NOT Disputed

This is the route that unwed parents generally go when fathers are known and they are willing to submit a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity to the proper authorities. Depending on the circumstances, this could involve a father completing an “acknowledgment of paternity” (AOP) form:

  • At a birthing facility or hospital, immediately following the birth of a child
  • At the Office of Vital Records and Statistics

In either of these cases, the father’s name would be on the birth certificate once the AOP has been submitted.

How to Establish Paternity When the Father’s Identity IS Disputed

If there are disputes over the father’s identity, it’s often necessary to file a paternity case, putting the matter in the hands of the family courts to resolve. In these situations, either the state or the mother can initiate the paternity case. The state can be involved for several different reasons, like, for instance, when child support issues have already entered the picture.  

When mothers are opening a paternity case, they will need to complete a Petition for Paternity, a Case Information Sheet, and possibly other court forms (all court forms for Colorado paternity cases are here). Then:

  1. The filing fees have to be paid, and the man named as the potential father in court documents must be served with a copy of the paternity case documents.
  2. The man will have the chance to file a response to the Petition for Paternity.
  3. A hearing for the case will be scheduled.
  4. A judge may issue an order for DNA testing, after hearing arguments from both sides.
  5. If DNA testing has been ordered, a follow-up hearing will be scheduled.

Once paternity has been established by the courts, mothers and fathers can use those rulings in other, related cases—like child custody cases and/or child support cases.

When You Do NOT Need to Go to Court to Establish Paternity in Colorado

Children who are born to women and men in the following situations are assumed to be the biological children of those adults, according to Colorado law:

  • During wedlock
  • Within 300 days of a marriage ending (or the end of a relationship that was held out to be a marriage, regardless of its specific legal status)
  • Right before or after a marriage

In these situations, usually, there would only be a need to go to court if the male in that circumstance was not the father or if there were issues regarding custody or child support due to a current or impending divorce.

Get Answers from a 5-Star Colorado Paternity Lawyer

Find out more about your rights, options, and how to move forward in a paternity case by contacting an experienced Colorado family lawyer at The Cossitt Law Firm, LLC. We represent mothers and potential fathers in simple to complex paternity cases, providing exceptional support, advice, and advocacy from start to finish.

No matter what side of a paternity dispute you’re on, there can be a lot on the line. You don’t want to gamble the outcome by going to court alone—especially when the your paternity case may have far-reaching impacts on other family law cases. Make sure you are ready when it’s time to protect what matters most. Make sure you have a Colorado paternity lawyer at The Cossitt Law Firm, LLC on your side.

Call (970) 488-1887 or email our firm for a free, 100% confidential consultation.

Paternity consultations are available via phone and Skype to anyone who is unable to visit our conveniently located offices in Fort Collins, CO.

Our attorneys are thoughtful, strategic, and highly experienced advocates who work as true partners with our clients. We have a reputation for excellence and top-quality representation, and we are known for providing personal attention and practical solutions tailored to each client’s unique circumstances. Find out more about how we can help you in a paternity case by contacting The Cossitt Law Firm, LLC today.


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Fort Collins Divorce & Child Support Attorneys

Tom Cossitt

Tom Cossitt, Esq.

Family Law
Suzanne Ewy

Suzanne Ewy, Esq.

Family Law
Carla Jaquess

Carla Jaquess, Esq.

Family Law
Attorney Lisa Vigil

Lisa Vigil, Esq.

Family Law
Jenna Hardesty

Jenna Hardesty, Paralegal

Family Law

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