There are a variety of ways that paternity can be established. For instance, if a birth father signs the child’s birth certificate or a Recognition of Parentage, paternity will be established. Additionally, genetic tests and/or an agreement reached by both parties may suffice for establishing paternity. It is important to remember that if any of these presumptions of paternity are present, an unmarried father is not automatically granted custodial or parenting time rights. In order for paternity to be conclusively established, unmarried fathers will need a court order that determines them to be the father. Once someone is conclusively determined to be the father, then he is entitled to request custodial or parenting time rights, and can even do so in the same court action.
Conversely, an unmarried mother is not entitled to receive child support until paternity is established. The reason for this is because as a matter of public policy, it would not be fair to make someone obligated for the support of a child unless they can be conclusively proven to be the father of the child. Once paternity is established, however, a Minnesota judge may award child support to the mother.