One unmarried father walked into a Minnesota courtroom expecting to be informed as to how much child support he would have to pay. What happened instead was that the two parents were then referred to co-parenting court where a variety of child-raising issues were to be discussed.
This is said to be the inspiration of one Hennepin County District Judge who ran what he called a paternity calendar. The judge was quoted as saying: "We bring in all these young men and say, 'Congratulations, you're the father. Here's your child support amount." The co-parenting court was then set up in hopes of resolving these matters differently.
One University of Minnesota report suggested that this co-parenting court has had success in motivating fathers to take a greater role in the raising of their children. The judge felt that this instilled in fathers the notion that they could play an extremely important role.
Family law matters constantly evolve. The automatic assumptions concerning such matters that may have been made years ago will no longer necessarily apply. This may be important as unmarried parents are now being more frequently seen in family law courts.
Still, it's important for these unmarried parents to recognize that their parental duties are more than temporary. When paternity is established, the father then also has the right to petition the court concerning visitation, child custody rights and determinations concerning the amount of child support that is owed.
Anyone that has questions concerning their rights as a parent may find it helpful to speak to attorneys experienced in child-related family law issues. These attorneys can assist individuals in asserting their parental rights in court and also make certain that the best interests of the child are met.
Source: Star Tribune, "Three years in, co-parenting court claims success," Rochelle Olson, Dec. 13, 2013