What Are a Father's Rights in Colorado?

October 4, 2021

Colorado is committed to protecting parents’ rights, and fathers’ rights mirror those of mothers. If you have concerns related to your parental rights as a father, Johnson Law Group has experience with Colorado custody laws specifically regarding fathers’ rights and can ensure your legal rights remain protected.

Your rights as a father are separate from your relationship with the child’s mother, and they are always worth defending. If your rights as a father are in jeopardy – or have yet to be established – the distinguished family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group have experience successfully guiding cases involving Colorado custody laws and fathers’ rights toward beneficial resolutions. We look forward to visiting with you about your case: (720) 730-4558 (text) or (720) 463-4333 (call).

Parental Rights in Colorado

The State of Colorado considers parental rights – whether they relate to the mother or the father – sacrosanct, which means that they are primary rights that law is committed to upholding. The only exception to this basic precept is when upholding a parent’s rights is not deemed to be in the best interests of the child. If you are a father, you have parental rights in all of the following situations:

  • You are married to the mother of your child
  • You are divorced from the mother of your child
  • You are in a relationship outside of marriage with the mother of your child
  • You are no longer in any kind of relationship with the mother of your child

A Father’s Role

While there is no denying that, in the past, courts across the nation generally favored mothers when it came to child custody decisions, this is no longer a standard practice. Courts universally resolve issues related to children in accordance with the best interests of those children, according to the Child Gateway governmental organization.

Because prevailing wisdom regarding children is that they are best served when they have both parents in their lives and when they are able to continue fostering relationships with both these parents, Colorado courts strive to ensure that – whenever possible – both parents are awarded a considerable amount of parenting time with their shared children (barring a compelling reason for not doing so).

Establishing Paternity

In the State of Colorado, a child who is born to a married mother is presumed to be the child of the mother’s husband. If this is not the case, however, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicates that paternity must be established under the law. There are two primary methods for establishing paternity in the state of Colorado.

Voluntary Acknowledgement

If both you and the child’s mother are in agreement on the matter of your parentage, you can simply sign and submit a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form to the appropriate court. After this form has been submitted, your name can be added to your child’s birth certificate, and you can move forward by assuming all your legal rights and responsibilities in relation to fatherhood.

Paternity Action

The final option for establishing your paternity is by instigating a paternity action through the court, and the judge in your case will be authorized to request genetic testing (for both you as the presumed father and for the child in question) in order to definitively establish paternity. Once paternity is determined, the court can address all the following:

  • Your parental responsibilities (or legal custody) and parenting time (or visitation)
  • Your child support obligation
  • Your contribution to your child’s medical insurance (as applicable)
  • Your financial responsibilities as they relate to court costs and fees for genetic testing

When it comes to establishing paternity, it can be as emotionally challenging as it is legally complicated. The accomplished Colorado family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group focus their practice on Colorado custody laws and fathers’ rights and can help answer your questions regarding your father’s rights.

Your Child’s Best Interests

As mentioned, the court always bases decisions that relate to child custody on the best interests of the children involved, and all the following factors can play a role in this decision-making process:

  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to provide for and take care of the child
  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to help foster a positive and loving parental relationship between the child and his or her other parent
  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to put the effort that is necessary into creating a smooth co-parenting environment for the sake of the child
  • The child’s overall health, safety, and well-being
  • The child’s unique emotional and developmental needs

Fathers and the Right to Child Support

There is a presumption that the mother will receive child support from the father in the event that they are no longer together, however, this is not how child support in Colorado works. If one parent is named the primary custodial parent – whether or not he or she is the mother or father – and the other parent has a visitation schedule, the parent with the visitation will generally have a child support order.

These laws are based on the fact that child support is predicated primarily on the number of overnights each parent has with their child and on each parent’s income. If you and your child’s other parent share your parenting time evenly, however, the higher earner among you – whether he or she is the father or mother – will very likely have the child support obligation. The State of Colorado is not predisposed to awarding mothers child support but, instead, calculates child support payments according to careful state guidelines.

Turn to an Experienced Colorado Family Law Attorney for the Legal Guidance You Need

Your rights as a father are paramount, and if you are facing a concern that affects these rights, the insightful family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group are well prepared to employ the full strength of our experience successfully handling cases involving Colorado custody laws and fathers’ rights in our focused defense of your case. To learn more, please do not hesitate to text us at (720) 730-4558 or call us at (720) 463-4333 today.

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