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Does establishing paternity ensure child support or visitation?

Having a child in Colorado outside of wedlock may make some parentage issues complicated. If you have a child while unmarried or if your husband is not your baby’s natural father, you may want to go through the steps to establish legal paternity. While establishing paternity does not by itself provide you with child support, it may make it easier for a court to order support sometime in the future. There are also several other potential benefits to establishing paternity.

You may find out details about Colorado’s child support laws at the state’s Department of Human Services website. According to the site, the key to establishing paternity when the baby’s natural parents are not married is to have all relevant parties sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This form is legally binding after 60 days. Even if you live with your child’s father, establishing paternity is an important legal step toward giving your child certain rights. It may also enable you to receive child support if you need it in the future as circumstances change.

While the easiest way to establish paternity is with the form, a court may also complete the process. In some cases, you may work with a county Child Support Enforcement Unit to establish legal paternity without getting a court involved. In Colorado, you may take steps to establish paternity until the child is 18 years old. In some cases, a court may increase this age limit to 21. A state court is responsible for determining child support, visitation and custody rights. However, legally establishing paternity may help you share responsibility for the child and may give your child an important sense of belonging.

This information about paternity is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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