Regardless of any formal or legal relationship between a couple, they each have legal responsibilities and rights to their shared biological children. In fact, establishing the legal paternity of a father can be important to the father, mother, or child, even if the child was conceived merely as the result of a single sexual encounter.
In Minnesota, if an unmarried mother conceives and delivers a child, even if the father’s name appears on the birth certificate, that father has no legal standing for custody or parenting time with the child. He also is not financially responsible for the child. Hundreds of parents take action to establish paternity in Minnesota every year. In 2020, Minnesota ranked 19th in the country for paternity establishment cases.
If you want to establish the paternity of your child, you need the help of an attorney. You can benefit from having an experienced and knowledgeable paternity attorney representing you throughout the legal process.
The Law Office of Glen A. Norton has helped mothers and fathers with paternity challenges in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and surrounding communities for more than 30 years.
Paternity refers to legally establishing the identity of the father of a child. That legal standing obligates the father to provide financial support for his child. It also gives him certain rights under the law.
Paternity is important for children who can qualify for benefits through their father, including Social Security, insurance, and inheritance claims against the father’s estate.
For the mother, paternity establishes the father’s legal obligation to provide financial support for the child.
A father establishing paternity can have his name placed on the child’s birth certificate, pursue child custody and parenting time, and add dependent children to their health insurance.
Under Minnesota law, if the mother is married at the time of the child’s conception or birth, her spouse is recognized as the child’s parent, and the spouse’s name is placed on the birth certificate. If the spouse is not the biological father and does not want to be legally responsible, the mother, spouse, and biological father may all sign and submit to the Minnesota Department of Health the Recognition of Parentage and the Spouse’s Non-Parentage Statement. The biological father is then recognized as the child’s legal father.
If the biological parents are not married but agree to recognize the biological father as the legal father, both sign a Recognition of Parentage and submit it to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Either parent may ask the court to establish parentage by issuing a court order. You can represent yourself in this process, but if there are disputes, you may want to have an experienced paternity attorney represent you. If the court determines paternity, it may also issue orders regarding child support, custody, and visitation as well. Either parent may also apply with their county child support office to help them begin the process of establishing paternity.
The mother, father, or county attorney can petition the court for an order establishing the paternity of a child. If either parent receives public assistance for the child, the county attorney will petition the court on behalf of the people because the public has a right to be reimbursed for taxpayer assistance when a parent fails to provide financial support for the child.
The court may order genetic testing to determine the biological parentage of a child under certain circumstances, such as:
The alleged father denies that he is the biological parent
The alleged father is not sure he is the biological parent
The alleged father believes he is the biological parent and wants to establish paternity
The court may order genetic testing on its own or at the request of the mother or father. In this case, the parent making the request must file a sworn statement, called an “affidavit,” alleging or denying paternity based upon facts regarding sexual contact and the conception of the child.
Genetic testing involves either swabbing the inside of the mouth of the parent and child or drawing blood. Results should indicate either that the male in question is not the biological father or that there is a greater than 99% chance that he is.
If you are a mother seeking support for your child, or a father who wants to be part of his child’s life, the paternity process can be emotional. Call The Law Office of Glen A. Norton today to discuss steps toward establishing the paternity of your child. The firm is proud to serve clients in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and the surrounding communities.