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Why Mothers and Fathers Should Pursue Paternity Actions

by | Jun 11, 2019 | Family Law, Firm News

The days of social taboos against single mothers are long gone. The unwed parent birth rate has almost doubled since 1970. In certain areas and among certain ethnic groups, the rate has increased even more.

Contrary to popular myth, signing the birth certificate does not make a man a legal father, in most cases. Typically, a Buffalo, MN lawyer must get a judge to sign a paternity order. This order has substantial benefits for both mothers and fathers, as outlined below.

Generally, the process is rather straightforward, especially if your Buffalo, MN lawyer is experienced in this area. Typically, both parties agree on paternity. If they do not, the judge usually orders a non-invasive DNA swab test. This simple test is about 98 percent conclusive. After that, it is just a matter of working out the details.

Five Reasons Fathers Need Buffalo, MN Paternity Lawyers

Many fathers already take their parenting responsibilities seriously, even without court orders. But there are some very compelling reasons why, at least in this context, it is never a good idea to leave well enough alone. The relative ease of the legal paternity process drives home this point even more.

Guaranteed Parenting Time

Many dads look forward to their weekend and other visits with their kids. Such frequent and consistent contact is also in the best interests of the children, in most cases. But circumstances change, such as residential locations. Attitudes change as well. Legal paperwork is the best way, and usually the only way, to guarantee contact between fathers and children.

Possibility of Becoming the Residential Parent

Primary custody may not be on your radar right now. But, as mentioned, things change. The mother’s life could deteriorate to the point that she is not a very good parent. The mother could also suddenly die due to an accident or illness. In these situations, even though the father is blood kin, the father may have no standing in court to assert his rights. Only a Buffalo, MN lawyer can formalize the relationship between fathers and children.

Credit for Support Payments

As mentioned, many dads do not need court orders to tell them they need to step up. Typically, this assumption of responsibility includes paying child support. But unless this money goes through the proper channels, fathers may not receive credit for the payments they make. Furthermore, official support payment eliminates problems like the mother’s lack of a bank account or her claims that she did not receive the money.

School Event Notice

As children go through school, they are in plays and performances, their classes take field trips, and there are other milestone events. Generally, only legal fathers get to be on the mailing, call, and pickup lists. If you want to be there for your child, you probably should partner with a Buffalo, MN lawyer and make that happen.

Prevent Unilateral Action

Unless official and current paperwork is on file, a mother can unilaterally relocate or change the children’s school without giving any notice to anyone. In some cases, she may even be able to put a child up for adoption without giving notice to the biological father. A paternity order keeps you in the loop without unduly compromising the mother’s right to be a mom.

Five Reasons Mothers Need Buffalo, MN Paternity Lawyers

Raising a child alone is not easy, from either an emotional or financial standpoint. Assistance is not always welcome or necessary, but most parents accept all the help they can get. Establishing a legal relationship between the biological father and your child is the best way to obtain financial and emotional help.

Prevent Unilateral Action

Yes, this is the same point we just covered above, but it is not a typo. The father may help now both emotionally and financially, but without court orders, the father can pull the plug on that support at any time. Such unilateral action leaves you in the lurch, which is why Buffalo, MN lawyers work hard to prevent situations like these.

Regular Child Support

Paternity orders almost always include child support orders. Typically, the obligor (person paying support) must pay via wage withholding order or through the Attorney General. Either way, your payments are basically guaranteed. In Minnesota, child support orders usually include medical support orders as well. The obligor must furnish health insurance for the children and also pay a share of unreimbursed medical expenses, like copays and uncovered costs.

Medical Expense Reimbursement

Even a relatively trouble-free birth may cost thousands of dollars. If there are any complications, however slight, these costs could easily double or triple. In many cases, a Buffalo, MN lawyer can include language in the court order requiring the obligor to pay half these costs.

Family History

When you take your children to the doctor, family history plays a big part in illness diagnosis, especially in certain cases. Unless the doctor has access to the father’s family medical history, s/he must diagnose and treat the condition with only part of the available information. A paternity order, and family medical history order, is usually the only way a doctor can fill in these blanks.

Ground Rules

Many times, unmarried parents get along better than married ones. But that’s not always the case. If the father is stalking you or has been physically violent in the past, paternity orders may include a permanent restraining order. Such an order usually prohibits the father from hurting you or your family in any way.

Reach Out to a Dedicated Attorney

Paternity actions have tangible benefits for mothers, fathers, and children. For a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo, MN lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Wright County and nearby jurisdictions.