Thanks to celebrities, the issue of paternity remains at large and in our faces on a near-constant basis. In the last month alone, tabloids and reputable publications alike have jumped at the chance to publish articles on paternity issues involving Caitlyn Jenner, William Shatner and Megan Fox.
While these articles may leave us slightly entertained, they have the effect of ignoring the heart of the issue—establishing paternity to improve the life of the child involved.
Why Establishing Paternity Matters
Confirming parentage provides numerous benefits to the child. For instance, it provides the child with:
- The opportunity for quality time (parenting time) with his father.
- Ongoing financial support (child support) from both parents for everything from housing and food to clothing, education and extracurricular activities.
- Better medical care, as he will have access to full medical history of both parents.
- Inheritance rights from both parents.
Moreover, a child that knows his parentage enables the child to have a fuller understanding of who he is, where his family comes from and how he is connected to others in the world.
Steps to Take to Establish Paternity
If you are the biological father of a child that was born out of wedlock, you have two ways to establish paternity in Minnesota:
- If you and the child’s mother agree that you are the father, all you need to do is file a free form, titled “Recognition of Parentage,” with the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of the State Registrar. This form requires notarized signatures from both parents. Once filed and approved, paternity is established.
- If you are not on good terms with the mother, you will need to pursue court action to have a judge legally declare you the father. Paternity cases require genetic testing of samples from the father, mother and child.
Why Hiring an Attorney for Your Paternity Claim Is a Good Idea
You do not need assistance from an attorney to establish parentage, but it is often a good idea, as paternity cases often turn into cases involving child support, child custody and parenting time. Having a lawyer with you from the outset can bring stronger advocacy and representation.
If you would like to know more about paternity lawsuits or how you can establish paternity in Minnesota, call our law firm today or contact us online.