An Outline of Our Paternity Dispute Practices
Establishing paternity requires knowledge of not only the state’s laws surrounding parental rights but an understanding of the court system. Fortunately, when you work with an experienced paternity attorney, these legal professionals can ensure you do not have to go through this challenging ordeal on your own. Instead, they can assist you through this process and help you with the following dispute practices:
- Child custody/parenting time/visitation
- Child support
- Health care
- Adoption (step-parent and family)
- DNA testing
Although, dealing with paternity issues is often an overwhelming ordeal, primarily since paternity questions are not always easy to answer. It is important to get this issue cleared up as soon as possible since once a man is established as the legal father of a child, he has an obligation to support the child financially and can ask the court for parenting time and custody. That is why it is best not to wait to reach out to an experienced parenting attorney when these situations arise.
Paternity typically means “the state of being a father.” However, when a couple that is not married has a child, the father’s paternity must be established as soon as possible after the child is born. This not only protects the mother and the baby but the father as well by reducing the possibility that the court will deny the father visitation of the child, custody, or other rights they may be legally entitled to. Further, paternity can also help ensure that the child will be eligible to receive benefits through the father.
In Minnesota, there are three ways to establish paternity:
#1. Mother Is Married
When a child is born to a mother who is married, the mother’s spouse is generally presumed to be the legal parent of the child and will be named on the child’s birth certificate.
#2. Mother’s Spouse Is Not the Child’s Biological Father
If the mother’s spouse is not the child’s biological father and does not want to be the legal parent, then the spouse, the mother, and the biological father can sign the Recognition of Parentage and the Spouse’s Non-parentage Statement. These documents are filed with the Minnesota Department of Health and indicate the biological father will become the legal father of the child.
#3. Parents Not Married
If the parents are not married, but both parents agree that the man is the biological father and wants to be the child’s legal father, they can sign a Recognition of Parentage form and file it with the Minnesota Department of Health. However, if the individuals do not voluntarily complete a Recognition of Parentage form, the paternity will need to be adjudicated by the court.
In Minnesota, the establishment of a legal father is not always automatic. Under the state laws, if a child’s biological mother and biological father are not married to each other when the child is born, and the biological father is not recognized as the legal father, legal action will need to be taken to establish paternity and a DNA test may be required.
In addition, the biological father will have no legal rights to the child or financial responsibilities to support the child, even if their name is on the birth certificate until it is established they are the legal father.
As a result, the parent or an attorney will need to file papers to start a paternity case in the local court where the child or the other party lives. In this type of case, the court will decide whether the alleged father is or is not the legal father.
Custody and Parenting Time
In Minnesota, parents can share joint physical custody of their children. However, it does not mean that the children have to spend an equal amount of time in each home. The only requirement is that the children reside in each home for the scheduled period of time. In addition, the state acknowledges that there are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.
Physical and Legal Custody
Physical custody is the right to make decisions about the child’s routine day-to-day activities and where the child lives. In comparison, legal custody is the right to make crucial decisions for the child, including decisions about their religion, health care, and education.
Most of the time, parties will be awarded joint legal custody, which means that both parents will have equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to the child.
When parents are not together, the state’s court will usually want both parents to be involved with their children. As a result, parenting time refers to the time each parent spends with the child, regardless of custody. This is also usually referred to as visitation.
Although there is a wide range of possible parenting time schedules that parents can choose from, this time will often depend on various circumstances, including the children’s ages, the parents’ work schedules, and the distance between the parent’s homes.
Child support is defined as the payment made by one parent to the other for the purpose of supporting the child. In Minnesota, each legal parent is required to financially support their child. Consequently, when parents do not live together, one parent may be ordered by the court to pay child support to the other parent.
Child support can be established in a separate court case or in a paternity case, divorce case, or custody case. Additionally, child support is usually paid monthly, or it can be taken out of an individual’s paycheck.
How Can a Paternity Lawyer Help Your Case?
Working with a paternity lawyer can help you not only understand all the issues surrounding your paternity case but can provide you with the answers and clarity you need about the legal options you have regarding paternity. These skilled lawyers can also help to prepare the strongest paternity case on your behalf, including crafting arguments and responses in anticipation of what may be offered by the other side.
Once paternity is determined, these legal professionals can also help you with:
- Physical custodial rights and legal rights
- Parenting time problems
- Child support issues, including retroactive child support
However, most importantly, this legal team can stand by your side through every step of this challenging process and provide you with the legal support you need during this stressful time in your life.
Seek Advice From a CJB Law Paternity Lawyer
If you have a paternity issue or have questions regarding your legal options when it comes to paternity, contact our experienced paternity lawyers today. We can discuss your legal needs and go over how our legal professionals can help you.