Both parents have legal rights to their children. The mother of the minor child has automatic sole legal and sole physical custody where the parties are not married and a Recognition of Parentage was not signed. A mother’s rights can be defeated if it is shown that the mother is unfit or has abandoned the child.
Minnesota’s family and divorce law is gender neutral. In other words, neither parent will have an advantage in custody or parenting time proceedings simply because of their gender. This means that if the father brings a paternity action to establish legal custody, physical custody and parenting time, the mother will not be given preference based on gender alone. A biological mother also has the right to bring a paternity action. This can be an effective way to determine who should be paying child support, and for how much.
Although a mother cannot be favored based on gender in a custody proceeding, she may have a good case based on the best interest factors. The Court will take into consideration if a mother has an especially close bond with the children or if a mother’s care is critical to their well-being. It is important to emphasize to the court why it is in the best interests of the children to reside with their mother over their father for reasons other than gender.
All parents have a right to make decisions for and act on behalf of their children. For example, deciding where their children will attend school, what health care their children will receive, and which religion their children will practice. Unless these rights are taken away, they remain with both parents. Our family law attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to protect the best interests of both you and your child.
A custody dispute can be significantly challenging, particularly one involving an unmarried mother’s rights to her child. Please, if you are faced with a concern regarding mother’s rights, call our office at (651) 647-0087 or reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.