A child is born…
A question to the man: Are you the father?
A question for the woman: What do you need to do to establish paternity?
Those are literally million-dollar questions.
The problem is, if you do not take immediate action, the court will impose the answer and the answer will be a legal “yes” even if the true answer is biologically “no”.
If there is the possibility that the biological answer is “no”, then you must take measures to discover the truth. Hiring a knowledgeable family law attorney can help make sure the truth is established. If you do not take the necessary steps in the case of determining paternity, the law makes presumptions that you both will have to live with. In this situation, you both have rights and responsibilities.
If you do not dispute that you are the father, or if it is determined that you are indeed the father, you must assert your legal rights because obligations will be imposed on you. You will then need to make sure your rights and obligations are fair to both you and the child.
Under Minnesota law, there is a presumption that an unwed mother has sole legal and physical custody. In order for a father to obtain his parental rights, the matter must be established through the court. This is true even if the father has signed the Recognition of Parentage and/or his name is on the Birth Certificate. Although, having one of these documents will help with the establishment, paternity must be declared by a court before a father’s rights exist. In the meantime, the mother controls all issues concerning the child, including visitation and where they choose to live.
Once paternity is established, the case will move forward to work on the issues of custody and parenting time (visitation). But the case cannot move to those stages until paternity is established. This can be done easily if the mother admits to the father being the biological parent of the child. However, if she is not willing to do this, there are specific steps which need to be taken in order to have paternity formally established through the court system.
It is therefore critical that you protect your rights. At Heller & Thyen, P.A., we understand these issues and have the experience to help a father become legally involved in his child’s life, establish paternity, as well as obtain custody rights and visitation. We also understand the need to protect a mother who needs to identify the child’s father in order to establish obligations such as child support. Our team of family law attorneys are prepared to help you navigate through these issues in order to achieve the best results possible.
If you’re currently needing the assistance of an experienced family attorney who specializes in paternity, contact the professionals at Heller & Thyen, P.A. today!