When a child is born in Minnesota, it is obvious you are the mother, but trouble can occur when identifying the legal father. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, paternity must be established for a few reasons. It gives the father rights to the child, allows him to be on the birth certificate and makes the child eligible for any medical insurance the father may have. For mothers, paternity must be established to get child support.

You may know who the father of your baby is. You may even be in a relationship with him. However, if you are not married to him, then he is not the legal father of your child. Furthermore, if you are not married, then there is no presumed paternity. Even if you put the father’s name on the birth certificate, this does not establish legal rights to the child. You have sole custody until paternity is legally established. You can file a Recognition of Parentage with the biological father to secure his legal rights to the child. 

If you are married, whomever you are married to is the other legal parent of the child. This is true even if you are married to another woman. She becomes the child’s legal parent. If your spouse wants to, he or she can voluntarily give up the legal rights to the child through filing a Recognition of Parentage and the Spouse’s Non-parentage Statement with the Department of Health. Do note that the actual biological father and you must also sign these forms. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.