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Dealing with child custody for never-married parents

While child custody issues may be more simple when a baby's parents are married at the time of birth, an increasing number of Colorado parents are facing a different situation. A mother may not list her baby's father on the birth certificate if she was not married or otherwise involved in a relationship with him at the time of the baby's birth. In the future, however, questions can arise about child custody. Even single mothers without their children's fathers in the picture may wonder if they should go to court to establish legal custody.

There are several issues that can arise when dealing with child custody issues when there is no father named on the birth certificate. While the state of Colorado has a preference for joint custody, this is not an issue when the father is not involved and has never been involved in the child's life. However, if the father becomes interested in the future, the state may look positively on his efforts to establish paternity and a fatherly relationship with his child or children. In many cases, a DNA test or a signed acknowledgment of paternity may be necessary in order to recognize a person who was not named on the child's birth certificate as the legal father.

In addition to child custody and visitation issues, child support can also come into play. Since the state uses the standard of the child's best interests in making determinations about child support, an uninvolved father may be ordered to begin paying child support.

Single parents may have a lot of questions to sort through as they build a life for their children. Whether it is a single mother seeking child support or a father looking to establish paternity, a family law attorney can help parents pursue their rights in family court and protect their relationships with their children.

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