In the state of Minnesota, single mothers have sole authority over raising their children until a court order gives the father custodial rights or parenting time. Fathers aren’t automatically given rights over their kids, which means most dads need to establish paternity, get custody or parenting time orders from the court, and work out child support under Minnesota’s guidelines.
Adjudication of Paternity in Minnesota
While it sounds like a complicated term, adjudication is simply the process of showing that a man is or isn’t the father of a child. The father can affirm under oath that he is the child’s parent through a Recognition of Parentage, or ROP, which usually happens at the hospital within a matter of hours after the child’s birth.
The ROP is then filed with the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, and everyone is good to go. No further action is necessary.
However, if the father was not present at the birth and has not filed a Recognition of Parentage with Health and Human Services, the court will need to become involved.
Taking Adjudication to Court
There are two ways adjudication of paternity happens in court: by oath or by genetic testing.
If both parties agree that the man is the child’s father, he can attest under oath just as he would have in the hospital.
If one of the parties does not believe the man is the child’s father, the court may order the man and the child to undergo genetic testing. It’s just a saliva sample test, which means it’s not physically painful for anyone involved. Once the genetic test results are returned, the court will either use them to legally confirm that the man is the child’s father or to make it clear that he is not the father.
Custody and Parenting Time
In a paternity case, the father has no original legal rights to spend time with the child or to have custody until a judge orders those things. Even if a father has a good relationship with the child’s mother—if they are in a committed relationship, for example, but are not married—it’s usually in his best interests to pursue physical and legal custody for future protection.
Child support is also an important aspect of fatherhood, and the courts use Minnesota’s child support guidelines to determine the amount necessary.
Need Help with a Paternity Issue?
You’re not alone. Call us at 763-323-6555 to schedule a confidential case evaluation. We can tell you what has to be done to prove your paternity and advise you on your next course of action.