In order to have legal rights concerning a child, the biological father must first establish paternity.
There are two common ways to establish paternity and preserve your rights as a father: through a court order or by signing a Recognition of Parentage. However, while the Recognition of Parentage establishes the biological parents, it does not provide the Father with any custody or parenting time rights.
A court order is usually the best option if there is more than one person claiming paternity of the newborn child or if the mother was married to another man when the child was born. Genetic tests are often required with this paternity method. Often, the Court will also decide custody, parenting time, and child support when paternity is determined.
The child (through a guardian), the child’s biological mother, a man presumed to be the father, or the county can start a paternity action. The law also lets a grandparent start the case, if that grandparent’s child (the mother or father) is deceased or is a minor. Our Minnesota paternity attorneys can help with the details and help you through the process. We provide the guidance and expertise you need when going through a paternity lawsuit.
A Recognition of Parentage only applies to unwed parents and is a written document that both parents voluntarily sign. It is a sworn statement by both parents that the man is the father of the child. This document is final as long as both parties are over 18 years of age and the mother is unmarried. However, the document is not valid until it is filed with the Minnesota Department of Health.
Importantly, the Recognition of Parentage establishes the identity of the father, but it does not establish custody, parenting time, or child support. Our Minnesota paternity lawyers can help draft the document and discuss the particular circumstances of your case and advise you how to best proceed with issues such as custody, support and visitation.