Who Can Start Court Proceedings to Establish Paternity?
There are limitations to who can bring a court action to establish paternity. Here’s a list of the qualified individuals and organizations:
- The child (he or she will need a personal representative if they are under the age of 18)
- The child’s mother
- The putative father, which is the man who either believes he is the father or has been identified as the dad
- The department of social services
- A legal representative for any of the above if the person is a minor, is incapacitated, or is deceased
Cases of Mistaken Paternity
If a man has been misidentified as the father of a child, then the situation falls under Mistaken Paternity. This can happen when the man signed an acknowledgment form identifying him as the father or a court order determined he was the father. In either case, the man, who is not the biological father, was unaware at the time that he was not the dad.
In cases like these, the man can challenge the paternity status with a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
While paternity can be established voluntarily at any time, if you’d like a court order, then there is a time limit. In Colorado, the action must be brought to court either before the child’s 18th or 21st birthday. The age variance depends on whether the statute of limitations was in effect when the child was born.
If you’d like to discuss how to establish or challenge paternity, please contact the Law Offices of Brian S. Popp for a consultation.