Rules concerning paternity confuse many people. For example, some people don’t understand that there is a presumption of paternity that applies when a married woman becomes pregnant or gives birth in Minnesota. Even if she and her husband separate before she gives birth, the state will typically assume that her spouse or former spouse is the biological father of her child.
For unmarried parents, establishing paternity can require a bit more effort. Unmarried parents often fill out a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) form, sometimes at the hospital after the birth of their child. However, there may be disagreements about paternity between parents that would make this effort premature.
Either parent can request court intervention
The Minnesota family courts do provide paternity support and testing. In a scenario where there are questions about who is the father of the child or the validity of someone’s paternity claims a mother and/or potential father can ask the courts to facilitate genetic testing. The outcome of those tests will then determine the next step that the parents in the family will need to take. Genetic testing is often one of the fastest ways to authoritatively resolve disagreements about who is actually the father of a child.
What if there are questions after establishing paternity?
Sometimes, there are disputes about parentage even if a child was born during a marriage or the parents cooperated to fill out an ROP previously. In either scenario, a paternity dispute will very likely require court intervention and can have lasting implications for both of the adults involved. Especially in scenarios where the parents filed an ROP with the state, it may be difficult to end a father’s obligations even if new information raises questions about a child’s parentage.
Sometimes, the adults involved can work out a compromise that doesn’t require court intervention. However, it is often only genetic testing that can authoritatively and conclusively and disagreements about the parentage of a minor child. As a result, carefully considering one’s options and possibly discussing the situation at length can help those embroiled in a paternity dispute choose the most appropriate path forward for their families.