These days, many divorced Minnesota fathers are fighting for their rights to be a part of their children’s lives. Their marriage to their ex-spouse may be over, or maybe they never got married, but these dads realize how important a father is to a child. But, to be a part of their children’s lives, they must first establish paternity. Normally, if a couple was married before they divorced, this is not an issue because Minnesota considers the man to be the father, unless otherwise indicated. What can a man in Minnesota do if he wants to be a father to his children, but he has not been recognized as such by any local or state court?
Fortunately, Minnesota offers two ways for a man to establish paternity. The first way discussed here is the easiest. If the man and the mother of his children both sign a sworn statement, stating that the man is the father of the children in question, that is usually enough. The form, called a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) form, can be obtained either from the hospital where the children were delivered or from the local Minnesota Child Support Office. Interested couples can also call the Minnesota Department of Human Services at (651) 431-2000. Once the form has been completed, it must then be mailed to the Department of Health, Office of the State Registrar in St. Paul. However, just filling out the ROP isn’t enough. If the form is not mailed to the Department of Health, then the ROP isn’t valid.
Another important fact to remember about the ROP is that if the mother of the children in question has not remarried and both parents are over the age of 18. Then, the ROP will become the paternity statement for the children in question. There is no time limit for filing out an ROP, so the form can be completed when it is convenient.
Once filed, the ROP can be used by a court to determine child support. Nonetheless, the document does not give child custody or visitation rights to the father. This can only be done by a court of law.
There is also a time limit of 60 days for either the mother or the father to cancel the ROP once it has been filed. Additional information on the ROP can be found at the source article cited here. And, while a father does not need to see a legal expert to fill out the form, it may be a good idea to do this to find out how a ROP can affect his rights.
Source: LawHelpMN.org, “Paternity and Child Custody,” April 6, 2015