July 18, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: District Court Lacked Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Paternity Action Because Each Presumed and Natural Father Not Given Notice

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re the Support of E.K., and Concerning the People on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

Paternity—Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Parties—Notice.

In this paternity action, P.W.K. (obligor) appealed the district court’s judgment adopting a magistrate’s order that established his paternity of three children, E.K., J.K., and P.K. The judgment was vacated and the case was remanded with directions.

Obligor did not dispute that he was P.K.’s biological parent. Genetic-testing results excluded obligor as the biological parent of E.K. and J.K. Mother identified by name the separate biological fathers for E.K. and J.K., and she testified that each biological father had met his respective child. The magistrate adjudicated obligor the parent of the three children, incorrectly stating in her written order that obligor had admitted that he was their parent, and ordered him to pay child support and the costs of genetic testing.

The Court of Appeals considered on its own motion whether the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction in this matter. A district court lacks jurisdiction to resolve matters in a paternity action unless each man presumed to be the children’s father and each man alleged to be the children’s natural father are made parties to or given notice of the action. Because the alleged biological fathers of E.K. and J.K. were not made parties to or given notice of this paternity action, the judgment was vacated for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings in compliance with the Uniform Parentage Act.

Summary and full case available here.

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