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Paternity - Parenting & Child Support for Unmarried


Summary:  A paternity case should be brought ASAP after birth. It is used to establish the identity of a child’s biological father, generally for out-of-wedlock births. Child support and parenting responsibility orders will also be entered.


Colorado Paternity for Parenting and Child Support

The purpose of a paternity proceeding is to establish the father - child relationship when the parents are not married to each other.  This includes parenting time so that the child has a father in his or her life. It also includes the establishment of child support obligations so that the child is financially supported.

Although almost all paternity cases address the identification of the father of a child when the mother is not married, some cases also focus on whether the mother’s husband is the child of the father.  Sometimes the husband is not the father.

In addition to the traditional monthly child support obligation, the father can be ordered to pay the medical expenses of the pregnancy and birth, as well as mother’s attorney fees.  Or a portion of these expenses, sometimes in proportion to the parties’ incomes can be ordered.

Child support arrears can be ordered and collected back to the date of birth. No matter how late in time the petition for paternity is filed. (This is much different from a divorce proceeding.)

Also, if there is a large child support arrears, a retirement plan QDRO can be used to collect the back child support.

DNA Testing for Paternity

There are several factors which the court may consider in making a judgment as to whether the alleged father is indeed the father of the child. Perhaps the best factor is the result of a DNA test.  Under Colorado CRS §13-25-126, if the test shows that the likelihood of paternity is 97% or higher, the test will be admitted into evidence. It is then presumed that the male which was tested is the father.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the expenses of genetic testing are to be paid by the prevailing party.  Generally the mother will pay for the test and the father will reimburse her after the test results are known.  Or, the parties could agree to each pay 50% of the cost of the test, no matter what the result.

Once paternity is established, orders regarding child support, parenting time, decision-making, health insurance, birthing expenses, and attorney fees should be entered.

Also, the child’s birth certificate should be amended to list the father.


GIF The material on this web site is for informational purposes only. This law firm practices only in Colorado. An attorney-client relationship is established only when an agreement as to the scope of representation and fees has been signed and a retainer paid. Colorado law may consider these web site materials to be attorney advertising. GIF
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