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Establishing Paternity

I'm married but the baby isn't my husband's baby. What can I do to get the real father's name on the baby's birth certificate?
You, your husband and the baby's natural father can complete the Acknowledgement of Paternity form stating that the husband is not the baby's father and the natural father is the baby's father. Then send the form to Vital Records (address is on back of the form), who will add the baby's father's name to the birth certificate.

If your husband or the baby's natural father will not sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity, you will need to file a legal action to obtain a court order to determine paternity of the baby. You can do this through the county Child Support Enforcement Unit or through a private attorney.

I signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity form, but now I'm not sure I'm the baby's father. What can I do?
An Acknowledgment of Paternity becomes a "Legal Finding of Paternity" 60 days after it is signed. If it has been less than 60 days since you signed the form, you can contact a private attorney, the court, or the county Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Unit to withdraw your signature on the Acknowledgment of Paternity form. A legal action will be filed to determine if you are the baby's father.

If it has been more than 60 days since you signed the form, you may still contact the court, a private attorney, or the county CSE Unit. However, the court may not allow the legal finding of paternity to be overturned.

Should I sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form even if I live with the mother?
You may believe there is no need to establish paternity now because you live with the mother and child. This may change. It is important to legally establish paternity. Having your name on your child's birth certificate is important for many reasons, as discussed below.

I am living with the father. Will establishing paternity mean I have to receive support?
Establishing your baby's paternity is separate from child support. Establishing paternity gives a child a legal father and gives the child important rights. By itself, it does not establish a child support order. Establishing your baby's paternity now will make it easier for you if you decide in the future that you need child support.

Can the unmarried father's name be added to the child's birth certificate at the hospital if the alleged father is deceased?
No. If the unmarried father is not available at the hospital when the child is born and he has not completed the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, the father's name cannot be added to the birth certificate.

Does the Acknowledgment of Paternity form give the mother or the father custody (parental responsibility) or visitation rights?
No. Custody issues (parental responsibilities) are determined by the court. Visitation terms can be arranged informally between the mother and the father or set by the court.

How is paternity established?
The court can legally establish paternity. A judge or other judicial officer may enter an order, which establishes paternity. The county Child Support Enforcement Unit may also establish paternity without going to court. The unmarried parents can also sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital when the child is born without going to court.

How long after the child is born can paternity be established?
Colorado law allows a paternity action to be started anytime before the child reaches the age of 18 and in some circumstances up to age 21.

If the parents name the child after the father, does this establish paternity or give the father any rights?
No. Naming the child after the father does not establish paternity or give the father any rights.

What are the benefits of establishing paternity?
Establishing paternity for a child benefits the child, mom, dad and society.

The Benefits are:

  • The child - sense of belonging, sense of continuity, self-esteem, emotional support, medical history, medical benefits, death or disability benefits, inheritance rights.
  • The Mom - shared responsibility and child rearing, emotional help.
  • The Dad - shared responsibility, knowledge of child, bonding with child, emotional and psychological benefits of being involved with child, the right thing to do, reward of contributing, and parenting time.
  • Society - better adjusted children (future leaders and parents), less financial burden as the family is less likely to receive public assistance.

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