Unmarried fathers in Minnesota who are no longer in a relationship with their child's mother still often want to play an active part of their child's life. They want to go to special events such as their child's soccer games and dance recitals. They want to celebrate holidays and birthdays with their child. But even more, they simply want to have dinner with their child and then tuck their child in at night.
However, before an unmarried father can take the steps to seek child custody or request visitation rights, he first needs to establish paternity. The purpose of a paternity action is to establish fatherhood for legal purposes. There are a number of ways to do this. One way is to sign a recognition of parentage (ROP). After a ROP is signed, the father can seek custody or visitation rights. If an ROP is not in place, the father needs to file a court action to prove paternity, which may involve DNA testing. Of course, unmarried mothers who are seeking parental rights, such as child support, can also seek a paternity action.
As this shows, there are ways that a father can establish paternity so that he can pursue his parental rights. However, to avoid making mistakes he may want to first seek the advice of an attorney, such as those at Terzich & Ort, LLP. An attorney can act as an advocate for fathers in paternity action. Once paternity is legally established, an attorney can help their clients assert their parental rights, including custody and visitation rights.
If paternity is not established, a father may not be able to get rights to his child and could even unwittingly relinquish any future rights altogether. Therefore, it is advisable not to handle such situations alone. Our law firm's website has more information about the legal steps that fathers can take to get access to their children. We fight for parents who want to play an active role in their child's life and develop a strong and loving relationship with their child.