A parent’s rights with respect to a child born outside of marriage depend partially upon the actions of the parties at the time of the child’s birth. Minnesota law grants sole legal and sole physical custody of the minor child to the mother until a Court orders otherwise. That means that the mother of the child can take the child and even deny the father parenting time until the Court acts. If the father of the child wants to assure his rights, he either has to obtain an agreement with the mother which is filed as an order of the Court or he has to take some legal action. What legal action he must take depends on what happened when the child was born.
If the parents have signed a Recognition of Parentage at the time of the birth of the minor child, paternity is already established. If the father seeks custody and/or parenting time, he can do so by motion.
If the parents have not signed a Recognition of Parentage for the minor child, the father will have to prepare and serve a paternity complaint/petition to establish that he is the father of the child. Unless the parties stipulate to paternity, this action will likely required DNA testing and the Court will order it done if requested to do so.
In any paternity proceedings, the Court will deal with all issues including custody and parenting time whether temporary or permanent.
There are limitations on the right to bring actions to either declare the existence of a parent/child relationship or to declare the nonexistence of a parent/child relationship. You may wish to review Minn. Stat. 257.57 and 257.58.
However, because these issues are more complex than which may appear from the language of those statutes, we strongly encourage you to call an experienced Minnesota paternity lawyer at Felix Law Office, P.A. at 952-894-8380.
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