The Importance Of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity impacts a broad range of family law issues, including child custody, child support and a father’s rights. At the law office of Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law, in St. Paul, Minnesota, I have the experience and knowledge to represent you in all matters that involve paternity disputes.
It is important to have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side. Either parent may file a petition to establish a father’s paternity in Minnesota. Once paternity is established, a father can pursue custody or parenting time. It is important to note, however, that a biological father does not have a legal right to custody or parenting time merely by establishing paternity.
Paternity Must Be Established For Child Support
Establishing paternity provides a number of legal rights to the child or children, including health insurance coverage, the right to Social Security benefits, inheritance issues, and the right to sue for a father’s wrongful death. Children also benefit by knowing their biological, cultural and medical histories.
Under Minnesota law, there are two ways to establish paternity:
- Recognition of parentage (ROP) – Both parents sign a sworn statement that the man is the child’s father. An ROP must be filed with the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Genetic testing – A court can order genetic testing if the issue of paternity is disputed. These tests can be done if the mother and alleged father live in different states. A collection kit will be sent to a hospital or lab near where the parties live.
Unmarried parents with an ongoing relationship can also benefit from establishing paternity. While doing so may not affect day-to-day life immediately, establishing paternity helps to clarify responsibilities regarding child support should the couple break up in the future.
Meet With A Parental Rights Attorney
Minnesota paternity laws are complicated. If you need to resolve paternity issues, retaining the services of a qualified St. Paul paternity attorney is a smart decision. To meet with me to get your questions answered, call 651-243-6005 or email my office to schedule a free initial appointment.