Unwed fathers are often uncertain what their parental rights are. Minnesota’s family and divorce law is gender neutral.
In other words, a father or a mother should not be at a disadvantage simply because of their gender. However, in a situation where the parties were never married, the mother automatically has sole legal and physical custody of the child until the court issues a custody and parenting time order stating the arrangement for the child.
Our attorneys have experience representing fathers in Minnesota family court on various issues surrounding father’s rights, including: legal custody, physical custody, parenting time and child support. If the parties are married, both mother and father have equal rights to the minor child and therefore, it is important to know the difference between cases with married parents versus unwed parents.
In most cases, it is in the child’s best interest to be taken care of by both parents. Each parent has different experiences and background which can be beneficial to children when major decisions must be made. A father’s rights do not change because the parents are not married.
Once paternity is established, through either a Court Order or a Recognition of Parentage, there are many benefits to the child. There are emotional benefits from contact with his or her father and the child may also develop family ties to paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. The child also has legal rights to inherit from the father and his relatives once paternity is established.
The Fathers’ Adoption Registry is a record of “putative” fathers who voluntarily register any time before their child’s birth or within 30 days of the birth. It only applies to children born on January 1, 1998 or later. A “putative father” means a man who may be a child’s father, but who is not married to the child’s mother on or before the date that the child was or is to be born and has not established paternity of the child in a court proceeding. If adoption proceedings begin for the child, and if the father has placed his name on the registry, the court can find the father so he can participate in the adoption proceedings.
If you are an unmarried father to a child and wish to be present in that child’s life, contact our experienced family law attorneys today to take the first steps toward gaining custody rights. Our attorneys will work closely with you to ensure that your children’s best interests are met and your father’s rights are protected. Please, call our office today at (651) 647-0087 or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.