Paternity/Father's Rights & Obligations

A paternity action can be a very complex legal proceeding with many related issues, including custody, parenting time (visitation) and child support.

Just as in a divorce, unmarried parents of a child have to determine these matters. Paternity means a legal recognition of the parental relationship between a father and child. Without paternity having been established, a father has no legal rights to his child. Minnesota law automatically awards an unmarried mother sole custody of the child until the court issues an order. Once paternity has been established, the unmarried father becomes the child's legal parent, which not only establishes a financial obligation to the child, but gives him the right to fight for custody and visitation as well. The father may initiate a paternity action to gain custody or parenting time (visitation). The mother or the state may also initiate this action to ensure financial support for the child. However, if either parent receives public assistance for the child, the County Attorney has the authority to file a paternity case in order to establish child support. Whether you’re a mother or a father, Seymour Family Law offers advice and guidance in establishing your rights and the rights of your child.


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