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Paternity testing for father and son.
Father and son going through paternity testing.





Many fathers mistakenly believe that if they were not married to the mother of their child, they lack legal rights as a parent. However, this is far from the truth. For unmarried fathers, it is crucial to establish paternity through either DNA testing or the submission of a Paternity Affidavit to legally confirm their fatherhood. Once paternity has been established, the father is entitled to pursue custody rights through a Parenting Plan or Visitation Schedule, just as if the parents were married.


Paternity refers to the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. It establishes a biological and legal relationship between the father and the child, providing essential rights and responsibilities. In Colorado, establishing paternity is crucial as it allows unmarried fathers to assert their parental rights, such as custody, visitation, and decision-making authority. It also benefits the child by providing access to financial support, medical insurance, and inheritance rights. Establishing paternity ensures that both the father and the child have a meaningful and lasting relationship, promoting the child's well-being and fostering a sense of identity and belonging. It is a fundamental step in protecting the rights and interests of both the father and the child in the context of family law proceedings.


Establishing paternity is an important legal process that determines the legal rights and responsibilities of a father in relation to their child. In Colorado, paternity can have significant implications for child support, custody, visitation, and other parental rights. However, concerns related to mistaken paternity or paternity fraud can arise, leading to questions and uncertainties. This article aims to shed light on the process of establishing paternity in Colorado and address the potential issues surrounding mistaken paternity or paternity fraud.


Understanding the Importance of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity provides numerous benefits for both the child and the father. For the child, it allows for a legal relationship with their father, which can lead to emotional support, access to medical history, financial support, and inheritance rights. For the father, it grants the opportunity to develop a meaningful and ongoing relationship with their child, including custody, visitation rights, and involvement in decision-making processes. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure accurate and reliable paternity determination.

The Process of Establishing Paternity in Colorado

In Colorado, paternity can be established through various methods. If the parents are married or have been married within 300 days of the child's birth, paternity is automatically presumed. However, for unmarried parents, establishing paternity requires proactive steps. This can be done through voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, where both parents sign a legal document called the Paternity Affidavit. This document is typically signed at the hospital during the child's birth or can be completed at a later time through the county child support office or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Addressing Concerns of Mistaken Paternity or Paternity Fraud

While rare, cases of mistaken paternity or paternity fraud can cause significant distress and uncertainty. Mistaken paternity occurs when there is a genuine belief that an individual is the biological father, but it later turns out to be incorrect. Paternity fraud, on the other hand, involves intentionally misrepresenting or withholding information about the child's biological father. If an individual suspects mistaken paternity or paternity fraud, it is crucial to seek legal advice promptly. In most cases, a father only has two years to contest paternity following the establishment of a child support order.  

Legal Remedies and DNA Testing

In cases of mistaken paternity or paternity fraud, legal remedies are available to address these concerns. Colorado law allows for genetic testing to determine biological paternity. This involves DNA testing, which provides accurate and conclusive results. A court order may be required to initiate the genetic testing process. If the test confirms non-paternity or fraud, the legal system can rectify custody, visitation, and child support arrangements accordingly provided it is completed within within a two year period from the date a person is legally determined to be the father. 


Establishing paternity is a vital step in determining the legal rights and responsibilities of a father in Colorado. While mistaken paternity or paternity fraud can create complex and sensitive situations, the legal system provides avenues to address these concerns. Seeking legal advice and pursuing DNA testing can help ensure accurate and fair outcomes, safeguarding the rights and best interests of both the child and the involved parties. By navigating the process of establishing paternity with care and diligence, families can lay a foundation for a stable and supportive environment for their children.

Take the important step towards establishing paternity today. Contact our law firm at 303-928-0660 to schedule a confidential consultation. Together, we will unravel the truth, safeguard your parental rights, and build a strong and nurturing foundation for your child's bright future.

Father and Son Fishing

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Paternity Rights and Parental Alienation: Addressing the Impact on Father-Child Relationships

The article discusses the importance of paternity rights and the detrimental impact of parental alienation on father-child relationships. Parental alienation involves psychological manipulation that distances a child from one parent, leading to emotional distress and attachment issues. Strategies to address and prevent parental alienation include open communication, mediation or counseling, court intervention when necessary, and staying actively involved in the child's life.

Understanding the legal rights and responsibilities of unmarried fathers regarding paternity establishment is crucial. This includes access to custody, visitation, financial support, and decision-making rights for their child. Seeking legal assistance is recommended to navigate the complexities and ensure a positive and involved father-child relationship.

The significance of paternity rights and child support in ensuring fair financial responsibilities for fathers is highlighted. Paternity rights offer legal standing, emotional bonding, and financial obligations, fostering meaningful relationships with their children. Child support provides financial stability, covering basic needs, education, healthcare, and overall well-being, while effective communication and flexibility in changing circumstances are essential for fair child support arrangements.

  • What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
    Legal custody refers to decision-making authority, while physical custody relates to where the child resides. In Colorado, "custody" is referred to as the "allocation of parental responsibilities" (APR). APR refers to (1) parenting time, and (2) decision-making responsibility.
  • How to change jurisdiction for child custody?
    To change jurisdiction for child custody, you typically need to file a petition in the current jurisdiction, providing valid reasons for the requested change, and seek approval from the court.
  • Can parenting time be modified or adjusted?
    Parenting time can be modified or adjusted if there is a significant change in circumstances or if it is determined that the modification is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider factors such as the child's needs and the parents' ability to co-parent effectively when making a decision.
  • Can you lose custody for not paying child support?
    Yes, you can potentially lose custody for not paying child support, as failure to fulfill financial responsibilities may be seen as neglecting the child's well-being and can be grounds for a change in custody arrangements.
  • Do I need a lawyer for child custody?
    While it is not mandatory to have a lawyer for child custody cases, consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended to understand your rights, navigate the legal process effectively, and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Why do I pay child support with 50/50 custody?
    Even with 50/50 custody, you may still be required to pay child support if there is a significant disparity in the incomes of the parents or other factors considered by the court to ensure the child's financial well-being.
  • How does relocation or moving to another state impact existing custody arrangements?
    Relocation can significantly impact custody arrangements, often requiring court approval or modification of the existing order.
  • Should co-parents spend time together?
    Co-parents should spend time together if they can maintain a respectful and cooperative relationship for the benefit of their children's well-being, but it's essential to prioritize the children's needs and avoid it if unresolved conflicts or emotional distress are involved.
  • Who pays attorney fees in child custody cases?
    In child custody cases, the party responsible for paying attorney fees is typically determined by the court and may vary depending on the specific circumstances and laws of the jurisdiction.
  • Can you lose custody for child endangerment?
    Yes, child endangerment can be a significant factor in child custody cases, and engaging in behavior that puts the child's safety at risk may lead to the loss of custody rights.
  • Can you get custody of a child that's not yours?
    Obtaining custody of a child who is not biologically yours may be possible through legal means, such as adoption or obtaining guardianship, depending on the specific circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction.
  • How to fight false allegations in child custody?
    To fight false allegations in child custody, gather evidence, maintain clear and open communication with legal representation, and work with your attorney to present a strong defense in court.
  • Can I fight for custody from another state?
    Yes, you can fight for custody from another state, but it can be legally complex, and it's essential to understand the relevant laws and seek legal counsel.
  • How long does a custody hearing take?
    The duration of a custody hearing can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the number of witnesses and evidence presented, and the court's schedule, but it typically lasts anywhere from a few hours to several days.
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