Though it is generally clear who a Minnesota child’s mother is, paternity is sometimes less obvious, especially if the parents are not married. This can complicate matters like who is responsible for paying child support, and who has the right to seek visitation or child custody.
Paternity cases tend to fall into two categories: the purported father denies paternity, or a man comes forward claiming to be the father. There are profound issues at stake: if the man is the father, the rest of his life could be changed. The responsibility of being a father might take precedence over all other plans.
From a financial perspective, it could mean that the father must pay child support. In Minnesota, unmarried fathers can be ordered to pay as much as two years of retroactive child support, along with birthing expenses and previous child care costs. In addition, the state may seek reimbursement for any public assistance the mother received prior to paternity being established.
Meanwhile, the biological father may not be granted custodial rights unless he takes action. To get to see his child and be a part of his or her life, the biological father may need the assistance of a family law attorney. Mothers may also benefit from legal assistance, as they seek the child custody and other compensation they need and are entitled to.
Proving paternity can be an emotional process, but once it is legally established, the parties involved can adapt to their new reality and move on with their lives.