Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law
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How does Minnesota recognize paternity?

Minnesota residents know that being a father comes with a lot of responsibilities. A child must be provided for properly, and this means that a father may need to contribute to the child's food, shelter, medical care and education needs. However, in order for a custodial parent to obtain child support, and in order for a father to try to act on his father's rights, paternity must be established. But paternity can sometimes become a thorny family law issue. So what are the criteria that the state of Minnesota uses to identify an individual as the father of a child?

There are several ways that Minnesota will recognize a man as the father of a child. The first and most common way is if the man and the woman who gave birth to the child were married when the child was born or if the child was born within 280 days after the couple decided to end their marriage. The state will also assume a man is the father of a child if the couple attempted to get married before the child was born and certain circumstances exist. After a child is born, Minnesota will also assume a man to be the father if the couple has tried to get married and certain conditions are met.

After the child has been born, Minnesota will recognize a man as a child's father if he files a written statement with the State Register of Vital Statistics admitting that he is the father. He will also be considered the father if he agrees to be named as the father on the official birth record of the child. Paternity can also be established if a man support a child through a court order or by a written voluntary promise.

Establishing paternity can be difficult enough, but, even once a father is identified, challenging family law issues may arise. Therefore, any Minnesota resident who wishes to establish their rights as a child's father, or who wants to seek child support, may want to speak to a family law attorney in order to understand the benefits and significance of following through with this process.

Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, "The rights of unmarried fathers", accessed Oct. 25, 2015

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