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Paternity: How to Know if a Child Is My Own

Parenthood is a huge commitment for anyone—one that can last for eighteen years or more and comes with financial and legal responsibilities. Establishing verified paternity is incredibly important. In Colorado, court-mandated paternity tests are usually carried out via DNA testing.

While many parents sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” (VAP) form when their child is born, if one or both parents dispute the paternity, they may need to bring the case to a family law court.

Establishing Paternity

If the mother, father, or child does not believe that the “legal” father is the biological father, they can file a motion to establish or contest paternity.

In this case, both the child and the father will undergo a DNA test. If the DNA samples match, the father is proven to be the biological father. If they don’t match, on the other hand, the paternity of the father is dissolved.

In the state of Colorado, legal paternity assures that the mother and child will receive financial support from the father, while the father will receive parenting time and other privileges in the child’s life.

If paternity is in question, there are two choices: live with the uncertainty or get a paternity test for definitive proof. In the eyes of the law, the man named on the VAP form is the father. However, in the absence of a VAP form, a paternity test is the next option.

Contesting Paternity

It’s up to the party contesting paternity to bring the case to court. In many scenarios, the child (plus a representative of the child if they’re a minor), the putative father, or the mother fills this role. However, a social services representative can as well.

The presumed father isn’t the only one who can file a motion for paternity. Any man who believes he’s the biological father of the child can try and establish paternity through Colorado’s courts.

If the father in question does not consent to a DNA test, the other party may file a motion with the court to obtain one anyway. This point is important in cases where a mother wants to identify the father of her child for child support reasons, but the father doesn't wish to come forward.

Similarly, if the father is paying child support but doesn’t believe the child is his, a negative paternity test would resolve him of those obligations.

Finally, if the mother wants to give her child up for adoption and the father does not consent, he can put a stop to the process through a paternity test. A mother cannot give her child up for adoption without the biological father's consent.

If you want to serve someone with a paternity test or take one yourself, our Denver paternity attorneys at McCoy Family Law can help. Call us at (720) 741-7442 to set up your free consultation today.

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