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Family Law: Your Guide to Voluntary Recognition of Parentage in Minnesota

by | Dec 15, 2020 | Family Law

A married man is presumed to be the father of his wife’s child. No paperwork is required. However, unmarried couples face some additional challenges. They do have to take action to establish paternity in Minnesota. That is not to say that doing so is always complicated: Through the Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage form, an unmarried couple can establish a legal relationship between a father and his child. In this article, our Mankato family law attorneys highlight the key things to understand about voluntary acknowledgement of parentage in Minnesota.

Parentage is the Foundation of a Father’s Rights in Minnesota

Without parentage, a man has no parental rights or parental responsibilities in Minnesota. An unmarried father cannot seek custody or visitation if paternity has not been established under the law. Similarly, an unmarried father cannot be required to pay child support unless legal parentage has been established. It is the fundamental foundation of fathers’ rights in Minnesota.

Voluntary Recognition of Parentage: An Efficient Tool for Unmarried Couples

As mentioned previously, paternity is generally not an issue for married couples. It is presumed under state law. Voluntary recognition is a tool that unwed couples can use to easily establish paternity. You do not have to go to court to establish paternity if there is no dispute. The Minnesota Department of Human Services explains that the official Voluntary Recognition of Parentage (DHS-3159) is an “easy and inexpensive alternative to getting a court order establishing the legal father.” Here are four things to know about the voluntary acknowledgement form:

  • Both parents must sign the form for it to be legally valid. If either the father or mother disputes parentage, you cannot use this form. Another approach will be required.
  • The form must be submitted to the Minnesota Office of Vital Records. When a valid form is received, the father’s name will then be put on the birth certificate.
  • Voluntary recognition is subject to a 60 day revocation period. Either parent has 60 days to rescind their signature. After that date has passed, the form has the full force of law. It is the equivalent of a court order.
  • It is important to emphasize that Voluntary Recognition of Parentage in Minnesota only establishes paternity. The form cannot be used to resolve specific disputes related to custody, parenting time, or child support. Instead, the form serves as a basic step for allowing an unmarried father to invoke his parental rights and/or ensuring that he abides by his parental responsibilities. If you are involved in a dispute over custody, visitation, or child support, an attorney can help.

    Contact Our Mankato, MN Paternity Lawyers Today

    At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota family attorneys have extensive experience handling paternity cases. We work hard to solve problems for our clients. If you have questions about voluntary recognition of parentage, our lawyers can help. Contact us now for a confidential family law consultation. We serve all of Southern Minnesota, including in Rochester, Northfield, Montgomery, Bloomington, and Minnetonka.