The unfortunate reality is that the subject of paternity has become something of a running punchline over the last few years thanks to popular over-the-top talk shows. The reality, however, is that paternity is an extremely important topic with both legal ramifications and emotional considerations for all involved parties.
In today's post, the second in an ongoing series, we'll continue a previous discussion by taking a closer look at one of the other ways in which parties can establish paternity here in Minnesota.
Last time, we discussed a binding legal document known as a Recognition of Parentage, one of two ways in which paternity can be established in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The second way is through a paternity order.
In general, a court issues a paternity order after being called upon by at least one party to determine who is to be treated as the father in the eyes of the law. In making its decision, the presiding judge will examine all of the evidence presented, including the previous relationship between the mother and the putative father, and genetic tests (which are not required to establish paternity).
In general, courts are called upon to resolve paternity matters in situations where multiple men may claim to be the father of the child, a parent refuses to sign the ROP or the mother was married to someone else at the time of the child's birth.
It's important to note, however, that if a couple is married when a child is born, the husband is automatically treated as the legal father of the child. However, if either spouse wants to commence an action denying paternity, in some cases, it must be initiated prior to the child reaching the age of three.
Please stay tuned for our next post, in which we'll explore why it's so imperative to establish paternity from a legal perspective. In the meantime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more.
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and Legal Services State Support, "Paternity and custody," July 2014