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Understanding Minnesota and North Dakota paternity laws

Regardless of their parents' marital status or relationship, children generally benefit from knowing who their father is and having him in their lives. However, when children are born to people who aren't married to each other, both parents can face unique legal issues regarding child support, visitation and other matters that can impact the well-being of their children, both emotionally and financially.

A key element of the father-child relationship when the parents were not married at the time of the child's birth is the establishment of paternity. The laws surrounding paternity vary from state to state and are even different between North Dakota and Minnesota. It's important for parents to understand how paternity is established in the state where they live. By legally determining a child's paternity, parents can help ensure the best possible future for their children.

In North Dakota, many men voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child. If that is the case, he can sign a paternity acknowledgment form. If a man does not acknowledge his paternity and the mother needs it established, a DNA test will show with a 99 percent or more probability whether he is the child's father.

Our firm can help North Dakota fathers legally establish paternity and gain the rights to which they are entitled under the law. We also work to help women in North Dakota when a presumed father does not acknowledge paternity so that she can get the child support to which she is entitled.

As noted, Minnesota's paternity laws are somewhat different than those across the border. If a man acknowledges that he is the father of a Minnesota child, he can codify that paternity by agreeing to be listed as the father on the child's birth certificate. He may also legally acknowledge paternity via the Minnesota State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

As in North Dakota, if a man does not acknowledge paternity, a DNA test can be administered that will provide nearly certain evidence that he is the father of a child. In Minnesota, a court may also rule adjudicate paternity.

Our firm has experience with both North Dakota and Minnesota family law issues. We advise people in both states on how best to legally establish paternity. Every situation is different, of course. However, both mothers and fathers have legal rights that are aimed at giving children as many advantages as possible.

Source: Melinda Weerts Law PLLC, "Fargo, North Dakota Paternity Attorney" Sep. 13, 2014

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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