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Family law cases can be extremely diverse from one another, and no two cases are quite the same. Some cases may possess more traditional or common characteristics, while others may be substantially nuanced and unique. For cases involving children, many involve some sort of assertion of parental responsibilities. However for some cases, there may be questions regarding maternity, but more typically the questions surround issues with paternity. This article will go through some of the presumptions that influence determinations regarding paternity.

Presumptions of Paternity

When it comes to being a father, Colorado law provides for various presumptions about paternity. If one of these conditions exist, a man is presumptively deemed to be the father of a child. Now, this isn’t to say that this person is necessarily the father of a given child, but rather that the law presumes him to be. Therefore, if there are suspicions that a child may be that of another man, this presumption may be rebutted with clear and convincing evidence. Since the issue comes up from time to time, we’ve included an explanation of some of the presumptions regarding paternity.

Shortly After Marriage

If a man and a woman are married and a child is born during that marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated for a number of reasons, the law will presume that the husband/ex-husband is the father of the child. While there are circumstances under which this presumption may not be accurate, the presumption usually makes sense — if the wife becomes pregnant during her marriage, or for a period shortly thereafter, most people would presume her husband to be the father.

Marriage Before Birth

If a man and a woman attempt to marry, but for whatever reason this marriage would be deemed invalid, the man will be presumed to be the father if a child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days of its termination.  For lack of a better description, this is a sort of recognition of “shotgun weddings”. Generally speaking, the law presumes that a man who weds a pregnant woman has a fair likelihood of being the father of the child.

Marriage After Birth

The law also makes a presumption for those men who marry (or attempt to marry) a woman after she gives birth to a child, and the man subsequently takes additional action(s) indicative of fatherhood. For these men, if they acknowledge paternity in writing and file such acknowledgment with the court, consent to being named on the child’s birth certificate, or become obligated to pay child support, there is a presumption of paternity. In this situation, the law considers objective indicia of the man’s intent to reach a presumption that such behavior correlates to being the father of a child.

Final Thoughts

There are additional presumptions that may lead to a man being deemed the father of a child. In any situation, if paternity is presumed, it may create various obligations and rights within the presumptive father. If you have questions regarding paternity, take the time to talk to a family law attorney. Here at Modern Family Law, we specialize in family law and we provide free consultations with our team of family law attorneys. Call us today for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.


Posted June 14, 2017
by: MFL Team

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