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Paternity in Minnesota
The days of factual disputes over paternity are long gone, as the issue of biological paternity is now decided by DNA, which is hard to argue with.

Disputes may still arise as a matter of law where, for example, one man is presumed the father because of DNA, and another is presumed the father by reason of marriage. For reasons of public policy, the biological father does not always prevail.

With respect to corollary issues of child custody and child support, etc., these are all decided pursuant to the same law that governs children born of marriage.

For unmarried parents, the mother has sole legal and physical custody unless and until the Court orders otherwise, pursuant to Minnesota Statute section 257.75, subdivision 3. Nevertheless, a mother should be careful before denying parenting time, because one of the many factors which the court considers in determining permanent custody is "the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child." Minn. Stat. & sect; 518.17, Subd. 1(13). Fathers in this situation should bring a Petition for Custody and Parenting Time as soon as possible. (Custody may also be sought as part of a paternity case, if paternity has not already been established by means of a Recognition of Parentage).

* 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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When custody is in dispute, a Minnesota court issues a custody order that is in the "best interests of the child." Joint custody will only be awarded if parents have shown the court that they are willing and able to cooperate. A court also examines several factors with the child's welfare in mind. They include (1) the child's preference, (2) each parent's health, (3) the child's health and whether any special needs exist, (4) each parent's relationship with the child, (5) which parent has been the child's primary caretaker, (6) each parent's ability to provide a stable environment for the child, (7) any history of domestic violence or child abuse and (8) any allegations of abuse.
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