The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Colorado

Date:

Definitions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-4-105

Effective August 10, 2022: A person is presumed to be the natural parent of a child if any of the following apply:

  • The person and the parent who gave birth to the child are or have been married to each other or are in a civil union, and the child is born during the marriage or civil union or within 300 days after the marriage or civil union is terminated.
  • Before the child's birth, the person and the parent who gave birth to the child have attempted to marry each other or to enter a civil union, although the attempted marriage or civil union is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following apply:
    • If the attempted marriage or civil union could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or civil union or within 300 days after its termination.
    • If the attempted marriage or civil union is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child's birth, the person and the parent who gave birth to the child have married or entered a civil union, or attempted to marry each other or enter a civil union, and any of the following apply:
    • The person has asserted parentage of the child in writing filed with the court or Registrar of Vital Statistics.
    • With the person's consent, the person is named as the child's parent on the child's birth certificate.
    • The person is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • While the child is under the age of majority, the person receives the child into the person's home and openly holds out the child as the person's natural child.
  • The results of genetic tests show that the alleged genetic parent is not excluded as the probable genetic parent and that the probability of the person's genetic parentage is 97 percent or higher.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-4-105

Effective August 10, 2022: A person and the parent who gave birth to the child may sign a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage to establish the parentage of the child. A voluntary acknowledgment of parentage may be signed by a parent who gave birth to the child and another person who is or believes themselves to be a genetic parent.

A married person or person in a civil union who gives birth to a child may only sign a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage with a person who is not the married person's spouse or civil union partner if the spouse or civil union partner signs a denial of parentage.

A duly executed voluntary acknowledgment of parentage takes effect upon the filing of the document with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics and may be rescinded on the earlier of either of the following:

  • Sixty days after execution of such acknowledgment
  • On the date of any administrative or judicial proceeding pursuant to this article or any administrative or judicial proceeding concerning the support of a child to which the signatory is a party

A voluntary acknowledgment of parentage that complies with this section and is filed with the State registrar is equivalent to an adjudication of parentage of the child and confers on the acknowledged parent all rights and duties of a parent. The court shall give full faith and credit to a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage that is effective in another State, including a federally recognized Indian Tribe, if the acknowledgment was in a signed record and otherwise complies with the laws of the other State or federally recognized Indian Tribe.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-4-107; 19-4-113

A child, their birth parent, a person presumed to be the other parent, the State, or the Department of Human Services may bring a court action for the following reasons:

  • At any time for the purpose of declaring the existence of the parent and child relationship presumed under § 19-4-105(1)(a), (1)(b), or (1)(c)
  • For declaring the nonexistence of the parent and child relationship, only if the action is brought within a reasonable time after obtaining knowledge of relevant facts, but no later than 5 years after the child's birth

Evidence relating to parentage may include the following:

  • Evidence of sexual intercourse between the birth parent and alleged other parent at any possible time of conception
  • An expert's opinion concerning the statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage based upon the duration of the birth parent's pregnancy
  • Genetic test results, weighted in accordance with evidence, if available, of the statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage
  • Medical or anthropological evidence relating to the alleged other parent's parentage of the child based on tests performed by experts
  • All other evidence relevant to the issue of parentage of the child

Required Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-4-105(2)

Effective August 10, 2022: A presumption of parentage may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two or more conflicting presumptions of parentage arise, the presumption that, on the facts, is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. In making that determination, the judge shall consider all pertinent factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The length of time between the proceeding to determine parentage and the time that the presumed parent was placed on notice that they might not be the genetic parent
  • The length of time during which the presumed parent has assumed the role of the child's parent
  • The facts surrounding the presumed parent's discovery of the possibility that the presumed parent was not a genetic parent
  • The nature of the parent-child relationship
  • The age of the child
  • The relationship of the child to any presumed parent or parents
  • The extent to which the passage of time reduces the chances of establishing another person's parentage and a child support obligation in favor of the child
  • Any other factors that may affect the equities arising from the disruption of the parent-child relationship between the child and the presumed parent or parents or the chance of other harm to the child

An acknowledgment of parentage may be challenged in court based only on fraud, duress, or mistake of material fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger. Any legal responsibilities resulting from signing an acknowledgment of parentage, including child support obligations, shall continue during any challenge to the finding of parentage, except for good cause shown.

Access to Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.