When there are questions regarding who the biological father of a child is or when other legal issues stem from determining who is considered to legally be a child’s father in the eyes of the law, paternity lawsuits may be filed in family court. The following FAQs regarding paternity lawsuits provide some general information regarding what these cases entail, as well as what can be expected from filing them.
What is the point of filing a paternity lawsuit?
People file paternity lawsuits to officially identify the biological father of a child in an effort to set the stage for determining other legal issues – like the father’s financial or moral obligations to the child, visitation rights, custody rights, etc. In some cases when paternity lawsuits are filed, the alleged father may be ordered by the judge to submit to a DNA test.
Who can file a paternity lawsuit?
While the mother or child can file a paternity lawsuit, so too can an alleged father.
Can a man other than the biological father of a child be legally recognized as the child’s father?
In short, yes; however, the laws surrounding who and when this can happen can be quite complex, depending on which of the following categories the father fits into:
- The admitted father, the biological dad of a child from unwed parents who acknowledges that he is the father, is required to pay child support.
- The presumed father is the case when the law assumes a man is the father of the child because he was married to or attempted to marry the mother upon the conception or birth of the child; he married the mother following birth, willingly had his name on the birth certificate and complied with child support; or he actively raises the child in his own home and purports the child to be his own.
- The equitable father is a man who is not biologically the father or the established legal dad through adoption but who has fostered a close relationship with the child (and has done so with the support of the biological mother). Step-dads going through a divorce will generally fall into this category.
Once paternity has been officially established, how do I go about getting child support?
When a man has been determined to be a child’s father but has not agreed to pay child support, the mother can appeal to the family court for certain enforcement measures to be taken. For example, the court may garnish the man’s wages, put liens on property he owns or even throw him jail. In such cases, working with an attorney will be crucial to helping you secure the financial support you deserve and resolving your legal matters as efficiently as possible.
Colorado Family Law Attorneys
When it comes to battling for child custody or dealing with any matter of family law, such as parental visitation rights, do not try to settle the case without the help of a skilled family lawyer. Working with the Colorado family law attorneys at the Law Office of Mike Hulen can be essential to ensuring that your rights are fully protected and that your family law matters are resolved as favorably as possible.
For years, we have been successful at helping our Clients negotiate favorable divorce settlements, child custody agreements, alimony payments, etc. We also have a proven track record of success when it comes to modifying custody agreements, spousal support payment agreements, etc. Contact us at (303) 932-8666 to learn more about your rights and receive professional advice regarding the best manner in which to proceed with your case.