In order to be recognized as a father under
Minnesota's law, an order must be entered adjudicating Minnesota
paternity. This does not necessarily require court proceedings.
A father may sign a "Recognition of Parentage" which creates a
presumption that the signing person is the child's father.
WHAT IS A RECOGNITION OF
The Recognition of Parentage (ROP) is a legal
document that establishes a man as the father of a child when the
parents are not married. Both parents must sign this document
before a Notary Public. Parents may execute this document at the time
the child is born or afterwards in order to have the father recognized
as the legal parent.
If the parents are under the age of 18, they may
still sign the ROP form which will then create a presumption
of Minnesota paternity. It allows the father legal rights and
imposes on him legal responsibilities that may necessary to formalize in
court in the event that either party raises paternity, custody,
visitation or child support issues.
If the parents are age 18 or older when a ROP is
signed, that document will become the equivalent of an order of the
Court adjudicating paternity if it is not contented within 30 days after
the signing. By establishing paternity, the ROP grants the parents
certain legal rights and establishes legal responsibilities related to
the minor child.
Each parent has a legal duty to support the child
financially. A child cannot get court ordered child support from a
father unless that father is recognized as the child's legal father
through an adjudication of paternity or signing a ROP.
Additionally, each parent has a right to access
school and medical records related to the minor child.
WHERE DO WE ACQUIRE A
RECOGNITION OF PARENTAGE FORM?
A Minnesota ROP may usually be acquired at signed
at the hospital when the child is born. After the child's birth, you may
still sign a Minnesota ROP by acquiring that document from the Minnesota
Department of Human Services (612) 296-2542, an area hospital, a child
support agency, an attorney or from the State Registrar of Vital
The Minnesota ROP is filed with the State
Registrar of Vital Statistics. If the form is signed at the hospital,
the hospital will file the form for you at no additional cost. If you
file the form some time after the child's birth, it must be filed with
the State Registrar of Vital Statistics with a small fee.
The address is :
State Registrar of Vital Statistics,
Minnesota Department of Health, 717 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN
DO WE NEED A RECOGNITION
OF PARENTAGE FORM IF WE LIVE TOGETHER?
Living together may create a presumption of
paternity, but it does not establish the father as the child's legal
father. This means that child support cannot be ordered by the Court and
the father is not entitled to any legal rights such as access to records
HOW DO WE GET THE FATHER'S
NAME ON THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
Parents signing a ROP at the hospital after the
child's birth will automatically have their names placed on the child's
birth certificate. If the ROP is signed at a later time, the father's
name may be added to the birth certificate upon presenting a certified
copy of the ROP to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. A small fee
is charged to change the birth certificate.
DOES SIGNING A RECOGNITION
OF PARENTAGE MEAN I CANNOT LATER CONTEST PATERNITY?
Paternity may be challenged even after a Minnesota
ROP is signed. If you change you mind within 30 days of signing the ROP,
you can sign a Revocation of Recognition. This cancels the ROP. The
revocation must be signed before a notary in the same way that the ROP
itself was signed. The revocation may be acquired form and must also be
filed with the Registrar of Vital Statistics within 30 days of
signing the ROP to be effective.
If you do not sign and file a Revocation within 30
days, you may still ask the court to vacate the Minnesota ROP by
commencing an action to disclaim paternity. In order to challenge an ROP,
you must demonstrate a good reason to change your mind. A good reason
may be that you later discovered that you may not be the child's father.
However, there are very strict time requirements
for challenging paternity once it has been established by a ROP. Under
Minnesota Statutes § 257.57, you must contest paternity within one year
after signing the ROP. If after one year, you still may contest
paternity with six months after obtaining blood test results that
indicate you are not the child's father.
The legislature has set this statute of
limitations for contesting paternity believing that the it is in the
child's best interests to rely on one person as his/her father after a
parental relationship has been established. Knowing their legal father
provides children with a sense of security and identity. Additionally,
children with recognized legal fathers may have rights to benefits based
on the father's relationship with them (eg. social security, veteran's
benefits, worker's compensation, health care coverage, inheritance
rights, tribal registration).
For additional information