One of the strongest family bonds is that between a father and his child, no matter where they are, Minnesota included. While a father has emotional ties and is vested in a personal connection with a child, he also has legal responsibilities with respect to the child's welfare, which is why fathers often are required to support their children even if they do not live under the same roof. If there ever is a dispute about the identity of a child's biological father, a genetic test can be conducted to determine whether a man actually is the father and thus what his parental responsibilities and parental rights are in relationship to the child.
Some mothers have demanded paternity testing when the alleged father has refused to recognize a child as his own and the two are in dispute over payment of child support. However, although establishing paternity may allow enforcement of child support orders, the process does not automatically mean a state will recognize a broad range of father's rights.
In Minnesota, for example, even if the father's name is entered on a child's birth certificate and the father is paying child support, he may not be in automatic possession of rights to his child, especially if he is unmarried. Unfortunately, establishing a right to visitation - or having a child support order modified to address changes in income or ability to pay - often requires going through a rather complicated legal procedure.
The large number of family law matters such as paternity, child support modification and custodial issues that have cropped up in Minnesota could mean that single fathers should made be aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding their children. One of the best ways to become aware is to consult with a competent legal professional who specializes in cases involving fathers' rights.
Source: WahpetonDailyNews.com, "Resource program open to Wilkin residents," Carrie McDermott, April 16, 2014