Paternity refers to the legal relationship existing between a child and its parents, and is the prerequisite to determining a father’s rights and obligation to that child.
In Minnesota, a mother is by default deemed to be the child’s biological parent because we can confirm the parent-child relationship via the birth. For father’s paternity is a little more complicated. When a child is born during a marriage, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the father, regardless of the biological relationship. However, where the father is not married to the mother, or where there is a question as to who the biological father is, paternity needs to be established before rights and obligations to that child can be determined.
HOW IS PATERNITY ESTABLISHED?
Paternity may be conclusively established by a blood or genetic test and order of the court adjudicating paternity. Paternity may also be established by mother and father signing Minnesota Recognition of Parentage (ROP) in which they acknowledge paternity.
A birth certificate alone does not establish paternity.
CAN PATERNITY BE VACATED?
Paternity is not only used to prove who the father is- in some instances it can be used to prove who the father isn’t. Where a child is born to a married woman and is not the biological child of the husband, or in some instances where the party who signed the ROP later learns they are not the biological parent of a child, paternity can be vacated, thereby severing any legal rights or obligations to the child.
PATERNITY AND CUSTODY RIGHTS
Establishing paternity via a genetic test or by signing a ROP does not automatically entitle a father rights to custody or parenting time with a child. To obtain custody or parenting time rights, a father must pursue an action to Establish Custody and Parenting time. (link underlined to custody info). Paternity will however create a legal basis and obligation for the father to provide financial support for the child, regardless of whether they have established any custody or parenting time rights. Because child support is based in part on the amount of parenting time each parent is awarded, seeking the immediate legal counsel of an Edina Paternity and Custody attorney is strongly advised.
Learn more about the representation an experienced lawyer can provide by scheduling a consultation. Our attorneys at Hill Crabb, LLC can be reached through the online contact form or by calling 612-568-5967.