June 19, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Once Established, the Presumption of Paternity Founded on the Weightier Considerations of Policy and Logic Controls

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in the Interest of C.L.S., and Concerning T.V. on November 23, 2011.

Paternity—Presumption—Standard of Proof—Preponderance Standard—Clear and Convincing Standard.

Husband appealed the magistrate’s order declaring T.R.S. the presumptive father of C.L.S. The order was affirmed.

Mother and husband were married when C.L.S. was conceived in early 2006. During this time, mother also had a brief, intimate relationship with T.R.S. Mother filed for dissolution of marriage later in 2006, before C.L.S. was born. Mother and T.R.S. began dating in the spring of 2007, about three months after C.L.S. was born. Genetic testing was performed a short time later. It excluded T.R.S. as C.L.S.’s biological father. However, T.R.S. acted as C.L.S.’s father, signed an acknowledgement of paternity, and added his name to the son’s birth certificate as his father.

Husband and T.R.S. each established presumptions of paternity that were not rebutted. The magistrate, after applying the relevant statutes, named T.R.S. the child’s legal father. Reviewing the magistrate’s order based on the preponderance standard, the district court upheld the magistrate’s decision.

On appeal, husband contended that the district court committed reversible error by rejecting the clear and convincing standard in favor of the preponderance standard. Husband established the presumption of paternity by way of marriage during C.L.S.’s birth and a genetic test establishing paternity. T.R.S. established the presumption of paternity by way of receiving C.L.S. into his home and holding him out as his own child and acknowledging paternity in writing.

Once presumptions are established, they may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. Husband successfully rebutted T.R.S.’s second presumption by showing husband did not provide written consent for T.R.S. to acknowledge the son as his child. The second step in the process occurs after the presumptions are established and have not been rebutted. According to CRS § 19-4-105(2)(a), when two or more conflicting presumptions arise, the presumption founded on the “weightier considerations of policy and logic” controls. The proper standard of proof to determine this second step is the preponderance of evidence standard. Therefore, the district court used the proper standard. The order was affirmed.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on November 23, 2011, can be found here.

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