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Do fathers automatically have visitation rights?

As a father, your complete and valid recognition of parentage form does not automatically qualify you for visitation with your children. However, it is still an important document. Think about it this way: In Minnesota courts, your ROP would probably represent a starting point for custody and visitation discussions. It would not be the final word on the subject.

If you do not already have one of these forms signed by you and your co-parent, now may be a good time to do so. This is especially true if you believe that the mother of your child would be amenable to signing the form. Please continue reading for discussions of a few of the finer points of this subject.

As stated on the Minnesota Department of Health, there are several requirements for a valid ROP:

  • It must have both yours and the mother's dated signatures
  • A notary must witness the signing
  • Someone must file it with the Office of Vital Records
  • It must be a clean copy with no corrections or cross-outs

One thing you may want to note is that you do not necessarily have to complete these documents at the hospital when your child is born. You may also go at a later time to a notary to have your parentage formalized.

If you are in one of the big cities in Minnesota, such as Minneapolis or Saint Paul, notaries should be right around the corner. You can probably find them in banks, mailbox stores and even libraries. Law offices may also have notaries, but attorneys typically do not perform notarizations for any document in which they have a direct or indirect interest.

After your ROP is complete, official and filed with the correct government Department, you would then have a basis on which you might be able to file visitation actions. However, this is only general information. Please do not take it as advise pursuant to yours or any other real situation.

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