Paternity Lawyer in Minnesota Ensuring You Have Experienced Legal Counsel in Your Corner
Being a father is one of the greatest joys in life. There is something special about being able to watch your children grow up and help them through life and raise them to be productive members of society. But being involved in your children’s lives can be very difficult if you don’t have established parental rights or legal custody. Because Minnesota only recognizes the mother as a legal parent if you aren’t married, it can mean you face an uphill battle to gain access to your children. That’s where TVA Law Office comes in. Keep reading to learn more about what’s involved in a paternity case and how we can help.
When you’re dealing with a paternity case, you face issues with custody and child support. Paternity lawyers can provide counsel and help you understand what your rights are and how to get them established. Call our firm today to schedule a consultation.
How Do You Establish Paternity?
In the case of a child’s father and mother not being married, paternity can be established in one of two ways. Either both parents can sign and file a form called recognition of parentage, or paternity can be established through the courts via a paternity test. Either of these grants the father custodial rights in the same manner as a married man who is the presumed father of a child.
What Parental Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have in Minnesota?
One of the first roadblocks that fathers may come across when trying to fight for legal custody is that only a legal parent can petition the courts for custody of a child. If the parents are married when the child is born, the father is automatically granted legal parentage. However, if the child’s father and mother aren’t married, the father doesn’t get this automatic status. An unmarried father has no legal parental rights until paternity has been established through either a joint recognition of parentage or through the family courts.
It’s a common misconception when dealing with a paternity matter that signing the birth certificate or being named on the birth certificate gives a father custodial rights. However, a birth certificate does not qualify as legally establishing paternity.
Will I Have to Pay Child Support?
If you are pursuing a paternity case, it’s common to wonder if establishing paternity means you will have to pay child support. The courts recognize that it is the parent’s duty to provide financial support for their children, so this means that it’s very possible that once paternity is established that you have to pay child support. However, whether you pay child support and how much depends on the individual circumstances. If you end up with a shared parenting arrangement with the child’s parent, you may not have to pay child support if you are both spending roughly equal time with the children. However, income plays a role in this as well, so it’s important to discuss your specific case with an attorney.
Is Joint Custody an Option?
Once a paternity action has been settled, and the child’s father has been legally recognized as the biological father, the child custody case can go forward. At that point, you will be able to petition the courts and propose a custody arrangement. If you want joint custody, you will be able to request that and have the opportunity to present your argument before the judge. It’s important to keep in mind that it can be difficult to get full 50/50 custody if you haven’t been an active and involved part of your child’s life, even if it was through no fault of your own. You may need to start with basic visitation and establish a pattern before the courts are willing to look at a more equitable division.
Whether you have questions about what child support may look like after you get legal custody or you need help filing a recognition of parentage to establish your parental rights, TVA Law Office can help. Call our Minneapolis office at 651-571-8547 to speak with a paternity attorney and learn more about your options.