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 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.

March 29, 2021
Cost of Divorce

Colorado divorce costs vary from case to case. The reason is that several case-specific factors will impact how much divorce costs, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Instead, it’s better to know what divorce costs usually include, as well as the factors that influence those costs and how they may apply to […]

March 5, 2021
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 […]

February 27, 2021
Can a Divorce Petition Be Withdrawn?

Yes, divorce petitions filed in Colorado can be withdrawn under specific circumstances. If it is not possible to withdraw a divorce petition, there may be alternatives, depending on what each spouse ultimately wants. When a Colorado Divorce Petition Can Be Withdrawn Divorce petitions filed with Colorado courts can be withdrawn or dismissed by the courts […]

February 2, 2021
Age of Emancipation in Colorado

19 is the age of emancipation in Colorado. That means that child support obligations are generally in effect through the age of 18, until the child’s 19th birthday. Here’s a closer look at what emancipation legally means and how it matters in family court cases in Colorado. What Is Emancipation? Emancipation describes the legal age […]

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


  • "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