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How important is paternity in child support cases?

When a married Colorado couple has a child, there is a presumption that the husband is the child's legal father. This will automatically mandate that the husband will have shared responsibility for the child's best interests and supporting the child should the couple part ways. If there is a concern that the husband might not be the biological father of the child, then it will be necessary to take tests to determine the truth. In cases where the parents are not married, however, the alleged father's name might not be on the birth certificate. In this situation, paternity must be established before the court will make a child support order.

The alleged father must be proved to be the biological father prior to an order being issued for the man to provide financial support. There are several ways in which a legal father-child relationship can be established. Some men voluntarily admit that the child is theirs. Doing so is a simple administrative process with the state's child support enforcement unit when the first negotiation conference is taking place. The man also has the chance to do this at the hospital at the time of the child's birth.

Some men are not 100 percent certain that they are the child's father. It is then possible to ask that tests are done to determine paternity. Blood and tissue samples will be taken from the man, the mother and the child. Tests are generally accurate in determining parentage and the result can be used to legally presume the identity of the biological father. This is admissible in court to prove that there is a father-child relationship. Men who do not believe the genetic and blood tests can still move forward with a court trial and have the case heard by a judge. It can be difficult to convince the judge to disbelieve genetic evidence and testing that indicate the man is the father.

When there is concern as to the identity of the biological father and child support hinges on paternity, it is important to have legal assistance from the beginning of the case. A lawyer who is experienced in child support cases can help the parents find out who the biological father is and in setting up an order as to how much child support will be paid.

Source: childsupport.state.co.us, "A Parent's Guide to Child Support -- Paternity, pages 6-7," accessed on March 27, 2018

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
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