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Acknowledgement of Paternity and its importance

In Colorado, the alleged father of a child who is not married to the child's mother can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form at birth or before the child turns 18. While a local court or Child Support Enforcement office can legally establish paternity, signing the document establishes paternity outside of court.

Even if the mother and father do not believe there is a need to establish paternity, doing so provides them both and the child with many benefits. While the mother receives emotional help and child rearing, the father receives parenting time and the psychological and emotional benefits of being part of the child's life. Both parents also receive shared responsibility. The child is benefited from the feeling of belonging, access to the medical benefits and the medical history of both parents and rights to inheritance.

If the mother is married to a man who is not the biological father, all three of the adults can fill out the Acknowledgement of Paternity form and send it to Vital Records to get the biological father's name on the child's birth certificate. If after signing the form the alleged father no longer believes he is the biological father, he can contact a lawyer, his local CSE office or the court within 60 days to have his signature withdrawn. After 60 days, the court may not allow the establishment of paternity to be reversed.

While establishing paternity is important, the mother and alleged father may not agree to file the Acknowledgement of Paternity form. If this happens, either party can start a paternity action. This could lead to a court order for the mother, alleged father and child to undergo genetic testing, during which the DNA of each person is compared to determine paternity.

Source: Colorado department of human services, "Establishing Paternity", September 29, 2014

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