Determining paternity is important in certain legal matters that require the “legal” father of a child. Even though every child has a biological father, not every child has a “legal” father. Under Minnesota law, if the parents are not married when the child is born, the dad is not recognized as the “legal” father until the legal steps are taken to establish paternity.

If a man is not married to a child’s mother when the child is born, he can become the “legal” father through the “Recognition of Parentage” process or by Court order. A “Recognition of Parentage” is generally used when the mother and father agree on establishing the biological father as the “legal” father. However, if the parents disagree on who the biological father is or an unmarried parent wants to get to receive child support or parenting time, a Court order can be used.


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