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No paternity established, no parenting time established

Thornton, CO |

No paternity has ever been established, no child support paid and of course, no court ordered parenting time. Is it correct that the parent whom the child lives with has no obligation to alleged other parent?? From everything I've read on here, that is what it says....that until a court says yes, he is the parent and yes, you have to let him have the child, then there is no obligation to do so.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If you have a legitimate dispute about paternity and whether he is the father, the answer is yes. Recognize that child support is not tied to parenting time EVER and so the fact that he has never been ordered to pay child support does not impact his ability to see the child. However, you are correct in saying that a court determination is necessary FIRST before he can claim any parenting time and child support will be set at that same time. Just remember in the future that you can not withhold parenting time if he does not pay support, you need to file a motion for him to be held in contempt of court.


  2. Do you dispute who the child's father is?

    There is no legal obligation to provide the other parent with visitation or any other consideration with respect to the child without a court order. However, leaving things in limbo can create problems. Without court orders, the child's father has rights superior to anyone other than the other parent. This means that he could possibly pick the child up from school or daycare or just about anyone other than you - possibly with the assistance of law enforcement - if he is the father and there is no court order. This can trigger an ugly battle of possession until you finally get the matter in front of a judge. For this reason (among others) it is safest to actually establish an allocation of parental rights through the courts and get child support set up.

    You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.


  3. My colleagues offered good insight, and I want to add to their comments. Your child is entitled to the support of both parents -- assuming both want to be involved in the child's life and the parental rights of one of you have not been terminated. Mr. Leroi indicated that child support is not tied to overnights and I understand why he said so -- it appears he was saying you don't get to argue no overnight time just because you are not receiving child support. There is, however, a conenction between the two in that when child support is calculated and considered by the court, overnights are a factor considered by the court -- as well as the parents' gross incomes, who is paying insurance costs for the child, day care expenses and a few other factors.

    Another point to consider is that child support is for the child -- not for either parent. Are you selling your child short by not asking for support? That is for you to know, but many judges would think that to be the case.

    Sit down with an attorney that can help you seek an allocation of parental responsibilities with the court -- as well as a paternity test for dad. Your child deserves it.

    Best of luck to you!

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.