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Why is paternity important?

If you are the father of a child whose mother you are not married to or who you are not currently in a relationship with, it is important that you establish paternity in Minnesota. This needs to be done legally so you have the proper legal standing as the child's father. According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, paternity gives you rights to the child and establishes your responsibility for that child. While getting legal documentation of paternity comes with many responsibilities, it also provides you with many benefits.

Establishing that you are a child's father means you will hold financial responsibility for that child. Basically, this means you will need to pay child support. However, it also entitles you to seek custody or visitation. If you do get custody of the child, then you would be paid child support by his or her mother. The bottom line is that once you are legally a child's father, you have the right to be in his or her life and to support your child the best you can. 

To establish paternity, you need to do more than get your name on the birth certificate. You have to either sign legal documents stating you are the father or take a paternity test. You may have to go to court if the mother does not recognize you as the father or if someone else claims to be the child's father. Typically, a DNA test can give you a reliable determination of whether you are the child's father or not. This information is for educaiton and is not legal advice. 

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