Currently, over one-third of first-time fathers are unmarried. Over time, many of these men will separate from their children’s mothers and live apart from their children. These fathers could face a number of unique legal challenges regarding their children, making it crucial to obtain legal protection for both their rights and responsibilities as fathers.
Child Support and Unmarried Fathers
When married couples divorce or separate, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father; one or both parents will normally be required to pay child support. When an unmarried couple separates, paternity must be established before a court will order child support.
There are two methods to establish paternity:
a document is signed voluntarily by both parents, often right after the birth of the child, called the Recognition of Parentage; or
a court order.
If paternity is contested, establishing paternity can become complex. If DNA tests show at least a 92% probability of paternity, the alleged father may be ordered to pay temporary child support. An unmarried father faces many complex legal issues, including child support, and should consult a child support lawyer in Mankato, MN, for counsel on their rights and responsibilities.
Protecting Parental Rights
Until there is a legal document stating otherwise, the mother has sole physical and legal custody of the child. Without legal protection, a father can be denied contact with his child by the mother, the child can be moved out of state with no notification and the mother could give temporary custody of the child to another person. While an informal co-parenting arrangement can be worked out between the parents, situations change over time.
An unmarried father can protect his rights as a parent by getting a court order covering issues such as parenting time, holidays, enforcement of illegally denied time with the child and qualification for Minnesota’s parenting expense adjustment.
The Fathers’ Adoption Registry
Whether or not a man is legally recognized as the father, the only way to get notice of their child being placed for adoption in Minnesota by the mother, is to be registered with the Fathers’ Adoption Registry. The father will then have the option to become involved in what happens to the child.
Whether you need to consult a child support lawyer in Mankato, MN, or have other custody and parenting issues, Blatz Law Office is a multi-practice law firm that can help. Visit Blatzlawminnesota.com to request a free initial consultation.
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