When paternity testing started including DNA analysis in the mid-1980s, the accuracy in identifying biological fathers rose from about 80-90 percent to an astounding 99.99 percent. In spite of this accuracy, each Minnesota family law attorney at our firm understands why some parents do not feel the need to take a scientific approach, particularly when they believe parentage is certain.
Minnesota law permits many parents to avoid paternity testing through the use of properly-executed Recognition of Parentage forms. While this is a relatively simple alternative for establishing parental rights, it can raise challenges if biological paternity becomes uncertain at some later date.
Revocation of Recognition of Parentage Follows a Limited Timeline
Of course, Minnesota law presumes that the men in marriages are biological fathers while making similar presumptions in other marriage-related circumstances. Men who have children who are born from long-term, committed relationships, however, do not benefit from any such automatic presumption, even if they are certain about their children’s biological paternity.
But what happens when a recognized father later discovers that he does not have a biological connection? If the discovery occurs within 60 days of executing the Recognition of Parentage form, the Minnesota Department of Human Services offers three options:
- Complete and file a Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage Revocation Form, or
- Ask the mother to complete and file a Minnesota Spouse’s Non-parentage Statement Revocation Form, or
- Write certain revocation information on a blank piece of paper, get it notarized and file it.
As of the 61st day, however, revocation becomes a significant legal process that requires intervention by the courts.
The Courts Typically Waive the Genetic Testing Limitation That Comes From Recognition of Parentage
Anyone who has read our January 30th blog post knows that execution of a Recognition of Parentage form removes the right to obtain genetic testing. However, this type of testing becomes essential once paternity questions arise, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the form was executed. This is one reason why court intervention is required.
Once a father has accepted the rights of paternity, he also accepts the responsibilities of fatherhood. As such, revoking paternity has serious consequences that can adversely affect the best interests of the children, so the courts have to make many decisions to best preserve a child’s welfare.
Every situation is unique, so judges have to look into many issues, ranging from the strength of relationships between a previously-recognized father (who may want to carry on the fatherhood role) and the children, to new parental rights and responsibilities when a true biological father has been discovered.
DNA testing may provide objective facts of paternity, but it does not consider the emotional issues that can have a profound effect on the lives of entire families, in addition to biological fathers who learn about newly-found rights and responsibilities.
It is essential to seek support from an experienced family lawyer who understands how to help find solutions that best consider everyone’s needs. To make arrangements that meet all legal requirements while helping all parties move forward, call us at 763-323-6555 or use our convenient contact form.