PR 01115.007 Colorado

A. PR 00-100 Effective Date of Paternity — Colorado (Your Reference No. S2D8:vh)

DATE: May 19, 2000


Under Colorado's Uniform Parentage Act, a court order issued after the death of the NH determining the existence of a parent-child relationship is determinative for all purposes. The child's status based on such an order dates back to the child's birth.


You have requested our opinion as to when Akira M~ acquired the status of being the "child" of deceased number holder (NH) Rane M~, SSN ~, for purposes of an award of child's insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. For the reasons stated below, we believe Akira would be considered the NH's child as of the date of his birth.

Based on your memorandum and the copies of documents you have provided, we find the relevant facts of this matter to be as follows. Akira was born to Ma'ani E. R~ (Ma'ani), who was unmarried, on April 17, 1998. During the probable period of conception, she was cohabiting off and on with both the NH (with whom she had another child, born in 1995, who is currently receiving benefits) and Brandon B~ (Brandon). When Akira was born, the NH was incarcerated. Since Brandon assumed the child was his, he attended the birth and apparently agreed to have his name appear on the birth certificate. Two weeks later, Ma'ani and Brandon placed Akira with Ma'ani's parents, the R~s, who have continued to care for him since then.

On August 8, 1998, the NH died in Colorado. Before his death, he purportedly told the R~s that Akira was his child. In 1999, when the NH's mother (who was caring for his first child) started "making claims" on Akira, the R~s arranged for genetic testing to ascertain who the boy's father was. Based on test results showing a 99.88 percent probability that the NH was the father, the Juvenile Court in La Plata County, Colorado, issued an "Order Re: Declaration of Paternity" on December 8, 1999, finding that the NH was Akira's father. In addition, pursuant to the court's order, a new birth certificate was issued on February 4, 2000, naming the NH as Akira's father and changing Akira's last name from B~ to M~.

As pertinent here, Colorado law of intestate succession provides that "an individual is the child of his or her birth parents regardless of their marital status. The parent and child relationship may be established under the 'Uniform Parentage Act,' article 4 of title 19, C.R.S. [Colorado Revised Statutes]."

C.R.S. § 15-11-114(1). Under C.R.S. § 19-4-116(1), an "order of the court determining the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship is determinative for all purposes." Paragraph (2) of this section states that if the court's order varies from the child's birth certificate, "the court shall order that a new birth certificate be issued under section 19-4-124," as was done here. Finally, C.R.S. § 14-4-124(2) provides that "[t]he fact that the father and child relationship was declared after the child's birth shall not be ascertainable from the new certificate . . . ."

Based on the court's order regarding Akira's paternity and the above-described statutes, we conclude that Akira's status as the child of the NH dates back to his birth, even though the actual paternity determination was not made until December 1999.

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PR 01115.007 - Colorado - 02/13/2002
Batch run: 01/27/2009