Fathers’ Rights Matter: A CO Family Lawyer Who Will Fight for You

The discourse surrounding fathers’ rights is often overshadowed by misconceptions – despite advancements in understanding the importance of involved fatherhood. These misconceptions usually stem from traditional gender roles, cultural norms, and historical biases that assert falsehoods, such as the idea that fathers are not as important in child development or that they are less bonded with their children.

Thankfully, fathers’ rights in Colorado are governed by state laws, which aim to ensure that both parents have equal opportunities and responsibilities in matters concerning their children. Andrew Bryant is well-versed in these laws, and he has assisted countless fathers like you in and around Colorado Springs in successfully asserting their rights and fighting to ensure they stay in their children’s lives.

Understanding how fathers’ rights work in Colorado involves examining various aspects of family law, including custody, visitation, child support, and establishing paternity. When you decide to work with The Law Office of Andrew Bryant, our skilled legal team will do everything possible to ensure your legal rights are taken seriously.

Andrew Bryant Law Knows How to Use the Legal Framework in Colorado Springs to Ensure You Are a Part of Your Child’s Life

The legal framework dictating custody, visitation, and paternity establishment in Colorado Springs is at the heart of fathers’ rights. Colorado statutes emphasize the “best interests of the child,” the cornerstone in determining custody arrangements.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is the foundational step in asserting one’s rights for unmarried fathers. This can be achieved through various means, including signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form, undergoing genetic testing, or obtaining a court order.

Here is how each of those break down:

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP):

One of the simplest ways to establish paternity is through the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) process. This involves both the mother and the alleged father signing a legal form acknowledging that the man is the child’s biological father.

The hospital typically provides the VAP form at the time of the child’s birth. Still, it can also be obtained from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) or local county child support offices.

Undergoing Genetic Testing

Genetic testing can be conducted to determine biological parentage definitively if there is uncertainty or disagreement about paternity.

Genetic testing typically involves collecting DNA samples from the child, the mother, and the alleged father through a simple cheek swab.

The genetic test results can establish paternity with a high degree of accuracy and are admissible as evidence in court.

Obtaining a Court Order

If there is a dispute or one party refuses to acknowledge paternity, the mother, the alleged father, or the child’s legal guardian can petition the court to establish paternity.

The court may order genetic testing if paternity is contested, and the results will be used to establish legal parentage.

Presumption of Paternity

In some cases, paternity may be presumed under Colorado law. For example, if a man is married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth or married her within 300 days before the child’s birth, he is presumed to be the child’s legal father.

However, this presumption can be rebutted through genetic testing or other evidence demonstrating that another man is the biological father.

Once paternity is established, the father assumes legal rights and responsibilities, including child support obligations, visitation rights and the legal standing to pursue custody, and the right to participate in important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

Visitation and “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities”

In Colorado, “custody” is the allocation of parental responsibilities, which includes decision-making authority and parenting time (physical custody). Fathers can gain more time with their child or children through various legal avenues.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how Colorado fathers can establish and enforce parenting time:

Petition for Parenting Time

The first step for a father seeking visitation rights is to file a petition for parenting time with the appropriate court. This can be done as part of a divorce or legal separation proceeding or through a separate action if the parents were never married.

Engage in Mediation or Negotiation

Before proceeding to court, parents are encouraged to attempt mediation or negotiation to agree on parenting time. This can involve working with a mediator or attorneys to develop a parenting plan that outlines the visitation schedule and other arrangements for the child’s care.

Present Evidence at a Court Hearing

If parents are unable to reach an agreement on parenting time, the court will schedule a hearing to determine the visitation schedule based on the child’s best interests. Both parents can present evidence during the hearing and make arguments regarding parenting time.

In determining visitation and the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court considers various factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s wishes (if they are old enough to express them), each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

If the court approves the parenting plan or issues a visitation order, you, as the father, will gain visitation rights according to the terms outlined in the plan or order. This may include specific days and times for visitation and provisions for holidays, vacations, and other special occasions.

Once visitation rights are established, you must adhere to the terms of the parenting plan or court order. If the other parent interferes with visitation or refuses to comply with the court’s orders, Andrew Bryant can help you seek enforcement through the court. Legal remedies for enforcement may include filing a motion for contempt, seeking a modification of the parenting plan, or requesting the assistance of law enforcement or the court’s enforcement unit.

Speaking of, if circumstances change or if either parent wishes to modify the visitation schedule, they can petition the court for a modification. When determining whether to modify visitation rights, the court will consider the child’s best interests and any significant changes in the parents’ circumstances.

We Can Help You Overcome Social Biases about Fatherhood in Colorado

Despite legal protections, fathers in Colorado Springs may encounter challenges rooted in social dynamics and biases surrounding parenting roles. Traditional gender stereotypes often perpetuate the assumption that mothers are inherently better caregivers while fathers are relegated to secondary roles. Additionally, socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity can intersect with gender dynamics, exacerbating disparities in fathers’ access to legal resources and support systems.

One strategy we like to employ is having fathers actively document their involvement in their children’s lives. Fathers can bolster their positions in custody and visitation disputes by building a compelling case based on evidence of parental engagement, stability, and commitment to the child’s well-being.

Through collaborative efforts and steadfast determination, fathers can confidently navigate the legal landscape, ensuring their voices are heard, and their parental roles are valued and respected.

Ready to assert your right to be in your child’s life? Contact The Law Office of Andrew Bryant today.