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Important points about paternity in Minnesota

For Minnesotans, the term "paternity" means more than just the establishing of the biological father of a child. It is an important factor in parental rights and the relationship between father and child. It also helps with making certain that the child is adequately cared for whether there is a relationship between the child and the father or not. There are important points that must be remembered when it comes to paternity.

Using the Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage form, a legal relationship can be established between the biological father and a child if he is not married to the mother. Signing it is an easy and cost-efficient way to declare paternity and it avoids the need for a court order. Both parents are required to sign this form to make the man the legal father of the child. It must then be filed with the Department of Health's Office of Vital Records to become official. When signing the recognition, the father will be able to do the following: request visitation and custody; have the child on the father's medical and dental coverage; allow the father to be informed if there an adoption; and establish the legal paternity with the man's name on the birth record.

Signing the recognition also has its disadvantages. It does not give the father an automatic right to custody or visitation. Singing it rather than going to court will take away the parents' rights to: have blood or a genetic paternity test to prove the biological father; have a legal representative to provide advice; or have a trial to determine the biological father. A recognition can be undone within 60 days of signing it. To do so, there must be a formal revocation form or it can be written on a blank piece of paper with the child's name and date of birth with the parent's information. A notary public must be present and it must be filed with the Office of Vital Records. If 60 days have passed, legal action will have to be filed.

Parental rights can be a complicated issue and paternity is part of that. Those who are immersed in paternity disagreements or are having other issues in regards to a child's paternity need to know how the process works. A lawyer who is experienced in these matters can be helpful.

Source: mn.gov, "Recognition of parentage," accessed on Nov. 22, 2016

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