The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee, In the Interest of D.C.C., D.I.C., and D.R-B., Children, and Concerning A.M.G., a/k/a A.M.G-N., Respondent-Appellant.
County District Court No. 16JV505 Honorable Elizabeth B.
E. Scott, Guardian Ad Litem
K. Streng, Georgetown, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant
Appearance for Petitioner-Appellee
1 In this dependency and neglect proceeding, A.M.G. (father)
appeals the order dismissing him from the petition in
dependency or neglect after a child support court declared he
wasn't the father of D.R-B. (child). We conclude that the
child support court lacked jurisdiction to make paternity
findings when there was an ongoing dependency and neglect
proceeding. So we reverse the order dismissing father from
2 In July 2016, the Weld County Department of Human Services
(Department) filed a petition in dependency or neglect and
for a determination of paternity. It alleged that J.R-B.
(mother) and K.R-B. (stepmother) had a history of
methamphetamine abuse and domestic violence, and had been in
and out of jail.
3 The petition named A.M.G. as the father of the child, and
it advised him that paternity of the child might be
determined in the action pursuant to the Uniform Parentage
Act (UPA), sections 19-4-101 to -130, C.R.S. 2017. No one
disputed that A.M.G. was the child's biological father.
The court didn't decide paternity at the shelter hearing.
4 Before the filing of the dependency and neglect proceeding,
stepmother had filed a motion for an allocation of parental
responsibilities over the child in a domestic relations
court. The court ordered father to complete genetic testing
in that case, but father didn't get tested before the
Department filed the dependency and neglect case. The
domestic relations court then certified the issues of legal
custody and parental rights and responsibilities to the
dependency and neglect court. See §
19-1-104(4)(a), C.R.S. 2017.
5 Father was served with the petition in dependency or
neglect on August 1, 2016. After he failed to appear at his
adjudicatory hearing on August 18, 2016, the district court
entered a default decree adjudicating the child dependent or
6 Father appeared for the first time at a hearing on February
2, 2017, and the court appointed counsel. The court also
ordered father to participate in and cooperate with genetic
testing. Mother's attorney indicated to the court that
genetic testing had already been scheduled for February 15,
2017, and that the child support enforcement office had
requested the paternity testing. Father indicated that he
hadn't been served with an order for genetic testing and
that he was then hearing about it for the first time. The
court told father that he would receive an order requiring
him to show up for the test. The court issued a written order
that same day.
7 A review of the register of actions shows that the Weld
County Child Support Services Unit filed a petition for
support in another division of the juvenile court on November
18, 2016, and that father was served on November 26, 2016.
The register of actions also shows that father failed to
appear at a hearing in the child support case on January 17,
2017, and that on that date the court ordered father to
appear for genetic testing on February 15, 2017. It appears
undisputed that father wasn't ever tested.
8 At a review hearing on April 4, 2017, the dependency and
neglect court informed the parties that, in the child support
case, the magistrate had entered an order finding that father
wasn't a legal parent of the child and "therefore,
has no parental rights concerning custody and
visitation." The child support court declared stepmother
to be the child's legal parent. The dependency and
neglect court said, "I don't know that the
Magistrate can do that with a [dependency and neglect case].
And I think what he was trying to do was establish child
support. However, nobody appealed this." The dependency
and neglect court also said, "[I]'ll leave it to you
folks and all your great minds to sort this out."
9 The dependency and neglect court provided copies of the
order from the ...