Under Minnesota law, when two unmarried parents have a child together, the father has no legal rights to the child until paternity has been established. The mother of the child has sole custody of the child until the court decides otherwise. If there is a hearing to establish paternity, the court will decide upon custody arrangements, parenting time, and child support. These issues are decided in the same way as they would be if the parties were married and getting divorced.
You can employ the services of a Minnesota paternity lawyer so that you can have legal representation by your side when determining the paternity of a child.
There are two ways in which paternity is established in Minnesota. The first is Recognition of Parentage. The second is through a court ordered paternity adjudication.
A Recognition of Parentage (ROP) is a form typically signed by both parents at the hospital after the child’s birth. An ROP is a sworn statement that says the man is the father of the baby. The Recognition of Parentage is then filed with the Minnesota of Department of Health, which is the only way in which it becomes valid. When the mother is not married to someone else and both parties are at least 18 years of age, this statement is final. A Recognition of Parentage can be done at any time before the child turns 18.
It is best that you speak with a Minnesota paternity attorney before you sign a Recognition of Parentage so that you will know how this piece of paper will affect your life and your rights.
The second way in which paternity can be established in Minnesota is through a court ordered paternity adjudication. One parent may not want to sign the Recognition of Parentage. There may also be instances in which more than one man may claim to be the father of the child, or when the mother is married to someone else when the child is born.
The court has to look at all evidence, which may includes genetic testing and the past relationship of the mother and possible father. You can request that a genetic test be done, but it is not required to establish paternity.
A paternity attorney in Minnesota can discuss all scenarios with you concerning your case and can craft responses and arguments in anticipation of what may be offered by the other side. This preparation is necessary because once paternity is established or declared, it is permanent and a father is entitled to certain rights toward biological children. A St. Paul paternity attorney can help you to feel prepared and confident in the courtroom.
So if you find that you are facing paternity issues, you probably have a lot of unanswered questions. The sooner a lawyer becomes involved, the better able we are to gather evidence and prepare a strong paternity case for you.