Skilled Attorneys Assisting Clients in Paternity Matters

At Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC, we handle a full range of family law matters on behalf of clients in the St. Paul metro area, including cases involving questions of paternity. Establishing or challenging paternity is an important decision for parents that will affect a child in profound ways. We appreciate the seriousness of the issue, and work to provide the right balance of compassionate support and aggressive advocacy to achieve our clients' goals.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity for Parents & Children

While every child has a biological father, not every child has a "legal" father. Paternity is the term used to refer to the legal father of a child under Minnesota law. Once a man is established as the legal father of a child, he has an obligation to financially support the child, and he may ask for a court order for custody and parenting time. For a child, establishing paternity has many additional benefits, including:

  • Knowing both parents helps provide the child with a needed identity.
  • It is important to have access to the health histories of both the mother and father for medical care and treatment of the child.
  • Establishing paternity allows a child to be covered by health insurance, life insurance, Social Security, veteran's benefits and military benefits, if available.
  • The child will have the right to inherit from either parent.
  • The parents and child can seek public assistance where they qualify.

In Minnesota, if a child's parents are not married to each other when the child is born, the father is not recognized as the legal father until someone takes legal steps to establish paternity. He has no legal rights to the child or responsibilities to financially support the child, even if his name is on the child's birth certificate. The birth certificate alone is not enough to establish the child's legal father.

For unmarried parents, the only way to establish paternity is through the "Recognition of Parentage" (ROP) process or by court order. If the parents agree, an unmarried mother and father can sign an ROP form and then file the form with the Minnesota Department of Health. If the man and woman disagree on who is the biological father of the child, or an unmarried parent wants to get a court order for child support, custody or parenting time, paternity must be established by court order.

At Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC, our family law attorneys have represented both mothers and fathers in paternity-related actions, helping clients prove or exclude paternity based on the circumstances at hand.

Seek Advice & Counsel from an Experienced St. Paul Family Law Attorney

As with all family law matters, we understand that issues surrounding paternity can be very sensitive and life-impacting for all people involved. If you live in the St. Paul metro area and need assistance, please contact Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC to speak with an experienced Minnesota family law attorney. We offer a free initial consultation to determine how we may help in your situation.