On behalf of Cooper & Tanis, P.C. posted in divorce on Thursday, August 24, 2017.
If Colorado parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth and the father does not acknowledge paternity, it might be necessary to file a paternity suit. High-profile paternity suits include one against Mick Jagger and Apple founder Steve Jobs. In both cases, once testing showed that they were the fathers, they developed relationships with their children and helped support them. Being able to request child support is one reason that a mother might want to pursue paternity testing. However, a positive paternity test also usually gives the father the right to visitation or custody.
Paternity tests are accurate at rates higher than 99 percent. The tests can be performed noninvasively with a mouth or cheek swab. If the tests need to hold up in court, they must be done at a medical office, hospital, certified facility or health department. A “chain of custody” ensures the security of the samples as they are handled for testing, and testing twice helps to ensure accuracy.
An individual, a judge or a state child and family services agency may initiate paternity testing. Paternity testing may also be necessary in a divorce.
Parents should try to avoid a child custody battle whether it arises from paternity testing or a divorce. The court takes the position that children usually benefit from having time with both parents. Parents may be able to reach an amicable solution through negotiation or mediation. However, if one parent is concerned about the child’s safety and well-being with the other parent, a compromise may not be appropriate. One parent might want to ensure that the other parent has only supervised visitation or no contact with the child at all in some circumstances.