Paternity cases involve the need to legally establish the relationship between a biological father and his children. You might be surprised to learn that if paternity is not established, a man might not have any legal rights or obligations with respect to the children he has fathered. There are certain instances in which a man is presumed to be the father of a child. However, in other cases, the man is not presumed to be the child’s father or presumed to have any rights to parent the child or make decisions on the child’s behalf until paternity is confirmed. For example, if you were never married to the mother of your children or your name does not appear on your child’s birth certificate, you might need to file a paternity case.
Paternity is determined with DNA testing. If you file a paternity case, you will likely need to undergo a DNA test. If you were married to the child’s mother, paternity will generally be presumed. If paternity is not presumed or has not been determined, consult with an attorney with expertise in paternity cases.
Establishing and Securing Rights
Once paternity has been established, issues such as parenting time, decision-making, child support, claiming the child as a dependent on taxes and health insurance coverage for the child will be ordered.
Name Change on Birth Certificate
When paternity has been established, the court will direct the Colorado Department of Vital Statistics to issue a new birth certificate to reflect paternity, which will include adding the father’s name to the birth certificate. In certain instances, if the child does not have the father’s surname, the court may order the child’s name to be changed to reflect the father’s surname or to reflect both parents’ surnames. Contact Tony Jarrett, Denver-area family law attorney today, 303-863-0777.