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Asserting Or Denying Paternity In Minnesota

In Minnesota, fathers’ rights are generally established through matters regarding paternity, child custody, child visitation and child support. Typically, such rights are evoked when a male is affirming or denying paternity, making custody arrangements or contesting financial support of a child.


Paternity refers to the legal father of a child. When a man is established as a legal father, he has an obligation to financially support the child. He also has rights pertaining to custody and parenting time.

Biological verification is not required to establish paternity in Minnesota. A man who is married to the mother of a child at the time of birth is automatically the legal father.

Every child has a biological father, but not necessarily a legal father. If a child’s mother and father are not married when the child is born, the dad is not legally recognized as the father until one initiates steps to establish paternity.

A mother who is not married at the time of her child’s birth has sole custody of the child until a legal paternity action is initiated.

Even if the parents of the child are not married, paternity can be established if both parents sign a Recognition of Parentage and file the document with the Minnesota Department of Health.

If one asserts that he is not the biological father of a child or a parent wants to get a court order for child support, custody or parenting time, a paternity action must be initiated with the court. Generally, a man must provide genetic proof through a DNA test to assert or contest paternity.

Child Custody

When a father has paternal rights, he may have to undergo a child custody evaluation. This often occurs when the parents do not agree to the terms of child custody. During this assessment, a custody evaluator may make home visits, conduct family interviews and perform criminal background checks on both parents. These efforts help evaluate a parent’s fitness for child rearing.

If parents decide on joint custody, they both are responsible for the care and welfare of the child. If a father gets joint legal custody, then he has equal rights regarding education, medical treatment and religion.


A child in Minnesota is entitled to spend 25 percent of his or her time with both parents. The right to visitation is generally permitted as long as a relationship with the father would be in the child’s best interests. A court makes the determination after an assessment of familial relationships.

Child Support

A mother may attempt to establish paternity to gain financial support from a father for child-rearing expenses. Conversely, a man might contest paternity if he feels that he is not the biological father and should therefore not be responsible for financially supporting the child.

Assuming paternity is established, a man will be required to pay child support. This is because every Minnesota child has the right to be financially supported by both parents. If the father does not have physical custody of the child, he will have to contribute financially. On the other hand, many fathers are required to pay child support even if they have joint physical custody of the child.

For various reasons, men often confront challenges when dealing with the process of establishing or contesting paternity. If you are facing such issues, it is extremely important to retain a solid family law attorney. A lawyer can help you initiate your rights.