Steps to Take When Establishing Paternity

If you were not married to your child’s mother at the birth of your child, you are not recognized under Minnesota law as the child's legal father. Thus, it is necessary for you to establish paternity of your child. An experienced family law attorney can help you establish paternity and your rights to your child.

There are several ways to establish paternity in Minnesota:

  • Marriage. If the parents of a child are married when the child is born, paternity is automatically established.
  • Recognition of parentage. An unmarried couple can sign a legal document in the hospital when the child is born, or later, acknowledging paternity.
  • Court order. Paternity can be established by a court order. Typically, genetic testing is done. Since DNA is present in every cell in your body, the court does not need to use needles or take blood to do the test. Skin cells are collected from the inside cheek area of the mouth. The laboratory compares the cells of the mother, the alleged father, and the child to get a test result. DNA testing is often conclusive in establishing paternity. If a genetic test establishes fatherhood, paternity is ordered by the court.

It is important to understand that paternity gives rights and benefits to the mother, the father and the child. Paternity gives the parents the legal right to have a child support order established. It gives the father the right to obtain a court order for visitation or child custody, and to have a say in the legal decisions about the child. It is important to note that establishing paternity alone would not prevent the mother of a child from relocating with the child. A father must also establish custody rights to have a say in the relocation of the mother with the child.

If you have questions about establishing paternity, reach out to the lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. to learn more.

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