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What is the paternity determination process in Minnesota?

According to federal and Minnesota laws, protecting a child's best interests is family court's primary objective. To protect those interests, the court often addresses paternity of a child because paternity is closely linked with various child-related family law issues, such as child custody and visitation rights, child support and parental rights. The laws governing paternity determination are contained in Chapter 257, Section 62 of the Minnesota Statutes.

According to the statute, the court can order a man presumed to be the father to take a DNA test, if sufficient reason exists for that man or the other party to seek testing. The person who requests the court to order a paternity test must submit a petition detailing the reasons why a test is indicated. A man who wants to deny paternity must also file an affidavit with the reason why. After test results are received and if a party wants to contest the findings, an objection must be raised within 30 days.

If the named father is dead, the court may also order blood relatives of that person to submit samples of DNA for paternity testing. However, if the court determines that the aftereffects of DNA testing outweigh the best interests of the child, it may choose not to order DNA testing. If a blood relative does not consent to DNA testing, an involuntary test order is possible if determining paternity involves issuing public benefits, such as Social Security or veterans' benefits, to the child in question.

In some cases, Minnesota courts allow additional testing but only with consent and the party seeking additional testing paying all expenses. Once the test results are released, the court will order further action based on the case's circumstances. Nonetheless, take note that a paternity test determines the biological father of the child, who may or may not be the legal father of the child, as stipulated by Minnesota family law.

Source: MN.gov, "2014 Minnesota Statutes - 257.62 Blood and Genetic Tests," accessed on March 29, 2015

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