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If you want a father's rights, you must prove paternity

When it comes to parenting there are rights and there are obligations. Not everyone agrees on what the responsibilities may be but the law is rather definitive about such matters and men often get the short end of the stick.

Establishing paternity can be one of those issues that can become complicated. If you are an unwed father who wants to be more for his child than simply a source of financial support, you need to make a formal appeal to the court. If you are a man who is presumed to be the father, but you doubt you are, you may need to get a paternity test to prove it.

Regardless of the situation, it becomes clear that working with an experienced attorney is the surest way to be confident that your position is made clear.

Under Minnesota law if a child is born to a married woman, her husband is presumed to be the legal father. All subsequent rights and obligations of legal parenthood then attach.

But if an unmarried man acknowledges he is a child's father through signing the necessary Recognition of Parentage form at the hospital, that doesn't automatically guarantee him broader custody or visitation rights. An unmarried woman is deemed to have sole custody of the baby unless and until a court order says otherwise.

In the event that the husband of a woman who has given birth disputes the automatic presumption of fatherhood and wants to avoid financial responsibility, genetic testing may be required. If all the involved parties agree, they can arrange for the test. Otherwise, if there are facts sufficient to raise reasonable doubt about paternity, the court can be petitioned to order a test.

With all that is at stake for the adults and child, establishing paternity is important.

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