Establishing the biological mother of a child is easy. But for a male, especially a male in an unmarried relationship, if the mother is uncertain of the biological father, establishing paternity and obtaining the rights of a father can get complicated in Colorado and elsewhere throughout the United States. Establishing paternity is important, as many issues are related to legal parenthood, including, but not limited to: adoption, custody and visitation, child support, health care and even inheritance.

For married couples, the father is automatically listed on the child's birth certificate at the hospital at the time of birth. Paternity can be established voluntarily if the mother acknowledges who the father is. But if there is an uncertainty or dispute as to the father of a newborn, a paternity test may be administered to determine the true father of the child.

Today's DNA testing can be done with accuracy up to over ninety-nine percent, and can even be done prior to the child's birth. Genetic characteristics of both the mother and alleged father can exclude a father from claiming paternity. Genetic blood tests or obtaining a sample with a cotton swab from inside the cheek are all that are needed from the father to administer a paternity test. Once the paternity is determined scientifically, the courts will enter an order and the paternity will become legal.

At any time prior to the test results, both parties may come up with agreements regarding issues such as child custody and child support. Considering the various family issues that can come into play with regards to paternal rights and responsibilities, it is important for the paternity of a child to be determined legally.

Source: Findlaw, "Paternity-introduction", accessed on March 17, 2015