Skip to content

How Divorce Affects Children and How You Can Help Your kids

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 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.

December 19, 2022
How Is a Business Valued in a Divorce?

Like other assets, businesses owned by divorcing spouses may be subject to the rule of equitable distribution in divorce. If a business is considered marital property, it will need to be valued to determine its worth so that a fair division of assets can be made. In general, a business that one or both spouses […]

November 14, 2022
Can You Divorce Without Splitting Assets?

When married couples split up, dividing assets is often one of the most sensitive and contentious issues they face. Can you divorce without splitting assets? Not every asset that you own is subject to division, so, yes, you may be able to divorce without splitting all of your assets. If there is a particular marital […]

October 12, 2022
Is Smoking Pot Grounds for Divorce?

Can Marijuana Use Affect a Divorce Case? With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, there has been increased research into the effects of the drug – including its effects on marriage. If your spouse uses too much marijuana you may wonder, Is smoking pot grounds for divorce? If you are concerned about […]

September 30, 2022
9 Things about Social Media During Divorce You Don’t Want Your Spouse to Know

Social media is a regular part of life for many people. That also means that social media can affect your divorce. For regular users, we check on what friends are up to and learn about local events. We post about our trips, our pets, our favorite restaurants or cooking accomplishments, about our kids’ achievements. Some […]


  • "I am very appreciative of Toms services. English is a second language to me, and this process seemed difficult because of that barrier. He was very patient and thorough making sure I understood everything before he proceeded. I will recommend him to everyone! He truly cares about you, as does his wonderful, helpful team"

    Review from AVVO

  • "I had a very challenging case, one that could have had indefinite financial consequences. Tom Cossitt evaluated my case and identified several strategies for moving forward. I chose one and Tom developed and implemented that strategy with speed and with the utmost in professionalism. The documents he drafted on my behalf, based on extensive research and case law / precedent were thorough and comprehensive. When the Court ruled, it used the arguments as developed by Tom Cossitt verbatim in its decision, and the case was decided in my favor. Needless to say, I was pleased beyond words. Based on my experience and the outcome of my case, I would highly recommend Tom Cossitt to anyone requiring the services of a family law attorney."

    Review from Google

  • "I met with as many as 10 different attorneys before coming across Thomas. After our initial consultation, I was very pleased with his knowledge and realistic expectations. During the really tough time, Thomas kept me calm and helped tremendously to get custody of my daughter. He kept me informed on what was going on and would ask for my input; if it was something that was unrealistic or could be done a different way, Thomas would tell me right away. During the hearings, he was amazing. He kept a professional attitude and was great at cross examinations. He took in all of the facts and evidence, and was able to present them efficiently and effectively. Ultimately helping me gain custody of my child."

    Review from AVVO

The Cossitt Difference: Fort Collins Divorce Attorneys That Care

AFCC Colorado Logo
Law Week Colorado Logo
Colorado Bar Assocation Logo
Fort Collins Chamber Logo
Super Lawyers Logo
Lead Counsel Verified Logo
Avvo Client's Choice Logo
Expertise Logo

Schedule a Consultation with one of our Fort Collins Family Law Attorneys

(970) 488-1887
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram