Learn more about how Maceau Law can help you with a legal issue regarding paternity in Colorado Springs:
Paternity law, which is also referred to as the father law, is the legal field that includes paternity disputes or the establishment of paternity between a father and child.
How is paternity established?
If a baby is born to unwed parents, the biological father is only considered the child’s legal parent if he signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity document, which is a declaration of legal responsibility for the child. This document is usually signed at the hospital after the child is born. An filiation order is a court order that acknowledges a father as the legal parent of the child. A petition is often filed in Family Court to seek an order of filiation.
Why is an order of filiation needed?
When a man and the mother of his child are not married, he has no obligation to pay child support nor does he have the legal right to seek custody or visitation pertaining to the child. However, through a filiation order or an acknowledgment of paternity, a father acquires these rights.
Who can file a paternity petition?
A child’s mother, their guardian or a man who believes he is the biological father of the child can file a paternity petition. The Colorado Department of Human Services will sometimes file a petition against the child’s alleged father to acquire support for the child when the child is the recipient of public assistance.
How much does it cost to file a petition for paternity?
There is no fee for filing a petition in Family Court. Of course, a paternity hearing will include court fees, lawyer’s fees and possible fees for genetic testing.
The petition and hearing process:
The parties begin the hearing process by appearing before a judge. If the mother was unmarried when the child was conceived or born, the respondent must admit he is the father of the child. After this admission, the filiation order is issued.
If the respondent denies he is the father, the judge will order a blood or DNA test performed on both the child and the parents. The judge will set a court date for after the test results are discovered. The test results are explained by the court when the parties return. If the respondent is shown to be the father of the child, a filiation order is entered. However, if both parties are still unable to come to an agreement on the matter, the judge sets up a hearing. In this hearing, both parties have the ability to present witnesses and evidence proving or disproving paternity. If the petitioner presents the court with sufficient proof of paternity, the court will issue the filiation order. The petition is dismissed if paternity cannot be proven.
Is it necessary to hire a lawyer?
In cases where both parents agree on paternity, hiring a lawyer is likely unnecessary. However, if paternity is in contention, hiring a lawyer is a good idea.
Why seek paternity?
As mentioned above, paternity is required to establish child support payments, visitation and custody rights. However, there are other reasons to establish paternity, and they are as follows:
The child benefits from established paternity by:
- Having the father’s name on their birth certificate.
- Being eligible for health insurance coverage by both the mother and the father’s health insurance companies.
- Other financial benefits include social security, veteran’s benefits and inheritance rights.
The mother benefits from paternity establishment by:
- Having information about the father’s medical history.
- An improvement on the family’s financial situation.
The father benefits from paternity establishment by:
- Having his parental rights legally established.
- Having the right to visitation or court ordered custody.
- Having the right to have a say in adoption matters pertaining to a child.
- Having his name on the child’s birth certificate.
Learn more about hiring a paternity lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO.