Some unmarried and divorced fathers in Minnesota might face obstacles when it comes to paying child support and getting access to their children. For example, one father was jailed for not paying child support, lost his job and had to declare bankruptcy. Another was blocked from seeing his children by a protection order while a third did not get equal custody of his child from a brief relationship in which he was not married to the mother. Furthermore, most custodial parents are mothers, and some courts may tend to favor them.
Fathers who fall behind in child support should try to pay some of what they owe, and they may want to consult an attorney with assistance in asking for a modification. A modification does not change child support debt that is past due, but a court may lower future payments if there is a good reason such as the loss of a job.
A court may issue a protection order if the safety of the child is in question. Fathers may want to talk to an attorney about how they might regain custody or visitation rights in this situation. Unmarried fathers who are not listed on the birth certificate may need to establish paternity. A court may use the standard of the best interests of the child to determine how involved the father will be.
This is also the criteria a court will use with any other matters dealing with children. In most cases, courts do encourage children to build a relationship with the father, but many fathers still deal with a more limited visitation schedule than they would prefer. They may want to try to talk to the other parent about the situation. Parents may want to make an informal agreement for custody, visitation or support legally binding in case one of them violates the agreement.