Paternity Lawyer in Shakopee, Minnesota Including Scott County, Carver County and Dakota County

Establishing paternity is important because the father of a child has no legal right to custody or parenting time until paternity is established. The mother of a child has sole physical and legal custody until a court decides otherwise. Mr. Peterson is an experienced Minnesota paternity lawyer that can help guide you through the paternity process.

Establishing Paternity

There are two ways to establish paternity underMinnesotalaw: (1) through a Recognition of Parentage; or (2) through genetic testing.

Recognition of Parentage

The first of establishing paternity involves a Recognition of Parentage. With a Recognition of Parentage, both parents sign a sworn statement that the man is the child’s father. A ROP is only valid when it is filed with the Minnesota Department of Health. If the mother is not married to someone else, and the parents are at least 18 years old, this statement of paternity is final. A ROP can be done at any time. It is best to speak with a lawyer before you sign it, to learn how it will affect your rights.

Genetic Testing

The second way to establish paternity involves a court order. One parent may not want to sign a ROP, or more than one man may claim to be the father, or the mother may have been married to someone else when the child was born. The court will look at the evidence, including genetic tests and the past relationship between the mother and the possible father. You can ask for a genetic test but you do not have to have one to establish paternity.

Establishing father’s rights

If paternity has been established through a recognition of parentage, the father has no legal rights to the child(ren) unless and until he petitions for them in court.  If there is a paternity hearing, the court will decide those issues at that time.  In either case, custody, child support, and parenting time are determined in the same manner as if it were a divorce proceeding.

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