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Minnesota Custody of Children Born Out of Wedlock

In Minnesota, the determination of custody for children born out of wedlock is no different than the determination of custody for children of marriage - both are decided pursuant to the "best interest of the child" standard set forth in Minnesota Statute section 518.17.

It is important to understand, however, that until a custody order is issued, the mother of a child born out of wedlock has sole legal and sole physical custody by operation of law.

Also, the father of a child born out of wedlock generally has no standing to obtain custody until paternity has first been legally established. This may be accomplished by means of a Recognition of Parentage signed by both parties, or by means of a Judgment of Paternity.

Custody can be decided as part of the paternity proceedings. Alternatively, if paternity has already been established by a Recognition of Parentage, the father may obtain a custody determination by bringing a Petition for Custody and Parenting Time.

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ADVICE FOR YOUR PARTICULAR CASE. ALSO, THIS INFORMATION APPLIES ONLY TO MINNESOTA LAW, AND NOT TO THE LAW OF ANY OTHER STATE OR COUNTRY.


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Minnesota courts look at many factors in deciding spousal support amounts. A spouse may be entitled to maintenance if he or she cannot support himself or herself despite any marital property received after distribution. Financial resources, employment, education and the personal circumstances of each spouse are considered. A court examines several factors to determine if maintenance is appropriate, and if so, how much and for how long. They include (1) the duration of the marriage, (2) the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, (3) each spouse's age and health, (4) each spouse's assets, income or ability to earn income, (5) the time needed for the requesting spouse to receive training or education and obtain sufficient employment in order to support himself or herself and (6) the owing spouse's ability to pay. A court can order temporary support while the divorce is pending. Most maintenance is ordered for a specific length of time. Once maintenance is ordered, it can be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
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