When a child is born to unmarried parents in Minnesota, certain steps can be taken to establish legal fatherhood. While each child in the state has a biological father, that is different from being a legal father. A legal father is the person that the state recognizes as being the child’s father, with all the rights and duties that entitles him to.
There are very good reasons to establish fatherhood. Not only does it allow the mother to seek child support, but it also allows the father to be listed on the child’s birth certificate and pursue custody or visitation with the child. However, there are many benefits that the child receives when a man is established to be the child’s legal father, beyond financial support.
If a child is born to a mother who is not married at the time of birth, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established. One benefit to establishing parentage is that the child can be listed on the father’s health insurance. A child can receive other benefits through establishing parentage. These include Social Security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits and the right to inherit property. Moreover, children benefit emotionally from knowing both their mother’s and their father’s medical, cultural and biological histories.
As this shows, it is for the benefit not just of the parents, but of the child that parentage be established. Children need the support of both parents, and benefit from knowing their family history. Minnesota mothers or fathers who have questions about this topic may want to seek legal advice.