Paternity refers to cases where a child is born outside of the marriage. The purpose of a paternity proceeding is to judicially determine parentage and thereby set the parental rights and obligations. In Minnesota, paternity is established in one of two ways:
Either method may, or may not, require a blood test. The first method is a voluntary process, while the second involves a decision by a judge.
A Recognition of Parentage (Recognition) is a statutory form document which is signed by both parents acknowledging that the man is the child's father. Such a document is final, unless cancelled within 30 days of execution. The Recognition has the following effect:
It is important to note that when a child is born out-of-wedlock, the mother automatically has sole legal and sole physical custody. Signing a Recognition does not give the father any custodial, or visitation, rights; it only affords them the right to bring an action in Court.
If a Recognition is not signed, it may be necessary to have a contested paternity hearing. At the hearing, the Court will examine evidence, such as blood tests, genetic tests, and the past relationship of the parties.
Establishing paternity is important. A father has no right to custody or visitation until paternity is established. Moreover, the child has no right to child support until paternity is established. Support can include paying health insurance and medical and day care expenses. The support is set according to the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines, in much the same manner as a marital dissolution case. Contact Minneapolis family law attorney Jonathan Fogel at 763-746-4045 if you have questions about paternity in Minnesota.
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