Modern families come in many forms, and they have become more diverse than they’ve ever been. Still, obstacles exist when it comes to creating a family, among them is the issue of paternity when the correct legal father has not been properly identified. Below are a few of the consequences associated with not establishing paternity in Minnesota.
Consequences for a father or presumed father
If you are a man who is unsure about whether you are the father of a child, the stakes of paternity testing are especially high. Without a test or court order, you may have no rights to seek parenting time with your child. Further, if you are wrongfully presumed to be the father of a child, you could wind up financially responsible for a child that, legally speaking, is not yours.
Consequences for a mother
If you are the mother of a child without a legal father, you have a lot to lose as well. This is true even if you are not in a relationship with the father of your child. Without a paternity test, there may be no one to pay child support.
Consequences for a child
Not having a legal father can be difficult for children to understand. Not only can they struggle with the reality of not having a father there to care for them, they can also feel like they are missing a piece of their identity. Further, from a medical perspective, many conditions can be prevented and/or identified more easily with a complete medical history. Without information about a biological father, there is less information to go on.
When in doubt, know your options
It must be noted that confirming paternity is not necessarily essential or beneficial in every case. There are situations in which people may be just fine without a paternity test.
However, if you have concerns about your rights as a father or your options as a mother, legally establishing paternity is typically a crucial first step in protecting yourself and your family. Any person with questions regarding paternity, the legal process or the rights you may or may not have would be wise to consult an attorney for guidance.