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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Do you have recourse as a victim of paternity fraud?

If you are a Minnesota father and you believe you have been a victim of paternity fraud, you may be wondering whether you have any legal recourse. Paternity fraud occurs when you are made to mistakenly believe you are the father of a child by the child’s mother, who may have suspicions or know for certain that you are not, in fact, the true biological father.

The Spruce reports that, as a victim of paternity fraud, you may end up paying child support for years for a child who is not, in fact, your biological child. Once you become aware of the fact that you are not actually the child’s father, you may want to see what you can do to stop paying child support, get back some or all of what you already paid, or both. To start the process, the first step typically involves filing an action to halt or attempt to collect back child support in a civil court.

Legal grounds for changing a Minnesota child support order

Whether you are paying or receiving child support in Minnesota, a time may come when you need to modify your existing agreement for some reason or another. At the Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we have a firm understanding of the circumstances that may warrant a change in a child support order, and we have helped many clients navigate the process involved in doing so.

Per LawHelpMN.org, if you are attempting to change the amount of child support you currently pay or receive, you must typically prove that there has been a change in circumstances that make the existing amount no longer fair. For example, if you are paying a certain amount in child support and you have now started to receive public assistance, this may warrant a change to your current child support order. You may, too, be able to pursue a change in a child support order if you or the other parent are now making considerably more or less money than you were when the order was initially enacted.

Can a custodial parent move out of state with the children?

Moving your children out of Minnesota is a major change in their lives and has a great effect on their other parent. It requires careful consideration and the court's involvement. According to The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, if you plan to take your children outside of the state to live, you must get the permission of the court. You may be able to bypass going to court if you get the permission of your children's other parent. This would need to be in a signed document detailing the move. Leaving without such permission could subject you to serious legal complications.

The court will review your request for validity and in consideration of the effect it will have on the children. You must have a solid and verifiable reason for moving. If it is found you are moving simply to interfere with the visitation rights of the other parent, the court will deny your request, and you cannot move your children out of the state.

Study: Joint custody may be best for children

Children whose parents choose to terminate their marriage may negotiate a parenting plan that ends in either sole custody or joint custody of the child. Although one parent may want to have sole custody and keep the child the majority of the time, studies show that this may not be the best option for kids. Researchers have found that in most cases, children who live in a joint custody household may have advantages over kids who are raised in a sole custody arrangement.

A meta-analysis, which was published in Journal of Family Psychology, evaluated 33 studies and found that kids are better adjusted when they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents. Researchers followed kids in sole-custody, joint-custody and intact family relationships and discovered that kids who are able to spend time with both parents had higher self-esteem, fewer behavior problems, better family relationships, did better at school and had fewer emotional disturbances.

Establishing paternity for unwed fathers in Minnesota

If you live in Minnesota and believe you fathered a child with a woman who is not your legal wife, you have very few rights with regard to that child. There are, however, actions you may take to pursue legal rights. At Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we have a comprehensive understanding of the methods you may use to establish paternity in the state, and we have helped many unwed fathers gain rights to their biological children.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch offers an overview of the actions you may be able to take to establish paternity as an unwed father. Arguably the easiest method for you to do so involves having you and the child’s mother sign what is known as a “Recognition of Parentage,” which is essentially a legal confirmation from the both of you that you fathered the child in question. A notary public must be present for the document signing, and you must then file the form with the Minnesota Department of Health.

Can dads really get custody? Here are some things to consider

While many believe it is more difficult for a man to win custody of his children, the truth is that courts want to see children in the custody of a parent who can provide for and care for him or her. While some courts might favor mothers, the law today is meant to be unbiased and to give fair consideration to both parents.

Fathers can obtain primary custody. There is no law that states that mothers should be given priority, and the changing state of society has influenced the need for fathers as primary caretakers. For example, today, many women work full-time jobs that are demanding and time consuming. If a father has a job that takes up less of his time, it may be more advantageous to place the child in the father's care primarily.

Why children need their fathers

Although mothers are given primary custody of their children in many cases of parental separation, the role of fathers is still essential. Children need emotional love and support from both parents in order to properly develop. If you have recently separated or filed for divorce, it is crucial to keep in mind the importance of a father in a child’s life.

Studies conducted by the Father Involvement Research Alliance shows that from birth, babies who have active and involved fathers are more confident in new situations, are emotionally secure and are able to explore their surroundings. Children with involved fathers are 43 percent more likely to do better in school and have less behavioral problems and depression.

Modification of a child support payments

In most Minnesota divorce cases, the judge orders the non-custodial parent to make child support payments to the custodial parent. These payments are calculated off both parents’ gross income, as well as the medical, educational and child care needs of the child. Although these payments are part of the divorce settlement, they are not set in stone. Child support payments can be modified if certain circumstances come up.

According to Minnesota Statutes, there are certain life situations that constitute a modification of child support payments. For example, if the non-custodial parent has a substantial decrease in income or a significant increase in money, they may file a stipulation to modify support or a motion to modify support. Other circumstances may involve a change in the cost of living, an increase or decrease in health care coverage or the ability to receive medical insurance, changes in the educational or medical expenses of the child or incarceration of either parent. The change must be at least 20 percent greater or less each month depending on the current child support obligation.

What are a grandparent’s right for visitation?

The laws concerning divorce and child custody in Minnesota can be confusing at times, especially if you are not an immediate part of the family. If you are a grandparent seeking custody or visitation for your grandchild, you may be concerned about what rights you have. There are several different situations, and each has a unique possible outcome.

 

How is the father’s role changing today?

As a Minnesota father, it is likely that you are noticing a shift in expectations about how you should be involved in your child’s life. As gender roles change and more mothers shoulder the burden of the family income, fathers across the United States are able to enjoy more time with their sons and daughters.

If you are a single or stay-at-home father, you are in good company according to recent research from the Pew Research Center. Indeed, 7 percent of today’s fathers stay at home, nearly double the percentage of stay-at-home dads found in 1989. Nearly half of fathers report that they want the opportunity to spend more time with their children, even though a significant proportion indicate that they are matching or exceeding the amount of time their own parents spent with them.

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