Even when a father is not married to the mother of his child, Minnesota provides a way for him to establish his role as the legal father through recognition of parentage (ROP). While the document serves as a way to establish legal rights and responsibilities, the ROP does not ensure that the father will get visitation rights or custody of the child. A much less expensive option than a paternity test, the ROP enables parents to bypass many of the hurdles that are typically encountered with proving paternity.
There are a number of pros and cons associated with an ROP, and many people choose to consult a family law attorney to ensure that all questions are answered before taking such a big step.
Primary Benefits of Establishing Parentage
In Minnesota, a biological father has no rights or financial obligations to his child until legal parentage is established. While an ROP does not guarantee that the father will receive custody or parenting time, it does provide men with a legal method to fight for those rights. Additionally, with the ROP in place, a father can cover his child under his medical insurance policy. The ROP also ensures that the father is notified if a petition for adoption of his child is filed.
For mothers, establishing parentage means that the financial burden may be split. The ROP also gives the mother the right to obtain the father’s medical information, which can be used to help determine potential ailments the child may deal with later in life.
Disadvantages to Establishing Parentage
It is possible that a man who signs the ROP form will be required to pay financial support, but will not have the right to spend time with his child. And when the ROP is in place, the parties no longer have the right to genetic testing to ensure the identity of the biological father.
Establishing Recognition of Parentage
The father must complete the Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage form to initiate the process. Both he and the mother must voluntarily sign the form, then it must be filed with the Office of Vital Records.
A family law attorney can help a father understand the rights and responsibilities that may be obtained by establishing his legal role as the parent of his child.
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