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The process of establishing paternity and where to find support

If you believe that you are the biological father of a child, you may have an interest in determining paternity. While it is typically simple to determine the mother of a child, sometimes determining exactly who the father is can be more of a challenge. Establishing proper paternity can have long-term financial and emotional benefits for the child.

Therefore, when the question of paternity arises, either for the alleged father or for the mother, it is a significant issue that has weighty implications for children. If the parents cannot agree upon paternity, the issue will typically head to the courts. Advancements in science have made paternity issues easier to resolve, and once the true father is determined, the courts can begin the process of making certain decisions that will best benefit the child.

Taking paternity to court

When taking the matter to court, an individual must prove paternity by a preponderance of the evidence, which basically means that it must be more likely than unlikely that the man is the father of the child. During the civil proceeding, the party attempting to prove paternity is likely to introduce scientific evidence to bolster his case. A person attempting to establish paternity in Colorado may wish to consult with an experienced lawyer for complete information regarding rules and laws in the state before proceeding with the process.

Science of paternity

The matter of determining a child's father was more difficult in the past, but thanks to scientific advancements, most tests can show whether a man is the father of a particular child with greater than 99 percent accuracy. The DNA of the child is compared to that of the mother and the potential father. The genetic characteristics of the child that do not match with the mother must match that of the father to establish his role as the child's biological father.

Implications of establishing paternity

Once a DNA test proves paternity, there are many implications. Most commonly, the establishment of fatherhood will allow a mother to petition for child support. Sometimes, the move allows a father to gain visitation or custody of the child. The testing can also absolve a person of financial responsibility for a child that is not his. In many cases, the parents settle the issue voluntarily and support and custody issues are handled without testing.

Seeking additional help

Whether you are trying to establish paternity, or you must disprove an erroneous claim of parental responsibility, the task can seem daunting. If you and the other party cannot come to an agreement, you are likely to end up in court. An experienced family law attorney who is fully familiar with all areas of family law, including the establishment of paternity, can advocate on your behalf, which could prove invaluable to your or your child's future best interests.

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