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Why Establishing Paternity Is Critical in a Divorce or Child Support Case

Divorce and child support cases are taxing and emotional for everyone involved. When there are questions of paternity, things become more complex. Your legal obligation to the child changes depending on proof of paternity. The goal is the welfare of the child but protecting yourself along the way is critical, too. A good lawyer can guide you through this challenging process when you’re facing a divorce or a child support matter.

How to Establish Paternity in Minnesota

There are two ways to establish paternity in Minnesota:

  • If you and the mother agree that you are the child’s father, you can simply file a notarized “Recognition of Parentage” form for free with the Department of Health, Office of the State Registrar.
  • If there is a dispute over paternity, a court case will be needed. A judge will declare paternity based on submitted genetic tests from the child and both parents. This is more expensive and time-consuming but also more conclusive.

The Way You Establish Paternity Impacts Your Case

Signing and filing a free “Recognition of Paternity” form will forfeit your right to any paternity hearing in the future. This is critical to consider with your lawyer before taking any steps.

You will no longer be able to file a paternity case or submit genetic test results to a judge. Paternity will have already been legally established. If there are any doubts about your relationship to the child in question, you will want to resolve the issue in family court before signing anything.

Why Paternity Matters

Once you are legally established as the father of the child, you are legally obligated to support them financially.

If you are going through a divorce or child custody case, this is crucial. Matters of financial obligation and child support become mandated by the court and will need to be resolved with the child’s mother.

Paternity Recognition Doesn’t Guarantee Custody

Being declared the father of a child doesn’t assume that you will also be granted custody. It simply establishes that you are financially responsible.

A family court case may be needed in order to resolve matters of custody. In the event of a divorce or child custody dispute, resolving matters of child support and custody will most certainly require the court’s involvement.

Get Help Pursuing the Paternity Results You Desire

Matters of paternity are complex and life-changing. The outcome of your decisions will affect you and the child for the rest of your lives. A sympathetic lawyer who knows the ins and outs of family law can guide you through this complex process. White & Associates are highly experienced in family law. They can answer all your questions and lead you to an outcome in your divorce or child custody dispute that you will feel satisfied with. Contact us today to talk with one of our family law attorneys.