Written by: Ben Olson
A Recognition of Parentage is a free form, usually provided by hospital staff when a child is born to unmarried parents. The decision whether to sign a Recognition of Parentage is an important one. Here are five things you should know about the effect of signing a Recognition of Parentage:
#1: Signing a Recognition of Parentage Creates a Legal Parent-Child Relationship
Signing a Recognition of Parentage creates a legal parent-child relationship between the child and father listed on the form. This legal relationship allows the Court to award child support to either parent. It also allows the father to request custody and parenting time.
#2: A Recognition of Parentage Does Not Establish Custody or Parenting Time
Although a Recognition of Parentage establishes a legal relationship between the father and child, it does not automatically give the father custody or parenting time. An unmarried father will still need to request custody and parenting time by filing a petition in Court. The Court will then issue an Order describing the rights of both parents.
#3: You Give Up Important Rights by Signing a Recognition of Parentage
By signing a Recognition of Parentage, both parents give up important legal rights. These rights include: (1) the right to genetic testing, (2) the right to a formal trial, and (3) the right to be represented by an attorney. These rights may be less important to parents who get along and who are certain about the identity of the biological father.
#4: A Recognition of Parentage is Permanent After 60 Days
Either parent can undo a Recognition of Parentage within 60 days by signing and filing a separate form with the Minnesota Office of Vital Records. It is very difficult to undo a Recognition of Parentage more than 60 days after it was signed. To do so, parents are required to go to Court. And in most situations, genetic tests are required to prove that someone else is the biological father.
#5: There is an Alternative to Signing a Recognition of Parentage
If unmarried parents choose not to sign a Recognition of Parentage, a legal father-child relationship can only be established by Court order. This process is started by filing a paternity action in District Court. Using the Courts to establish a father-child relationship can be expensive and stressful. But this process may be necessary if parents do not get along or if the identity of the biological father is in question. In a paternity action, each parent has the right to genetic testing, the right to be represented by an attorney, and the right to a formal trial.
Ben Olson is a family law attorney at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC. He focuses his practice on cases involving child support, child custody, parenting time, and orders for protection. Visit his bio here to learn more about Ben.
This article is meant to provide general information about Minnesota law. Do not rely on this information as a substitute for personal legal advice, which should be based on all relevant information relating to your individual circumstances. This information may not accurately describe the law in other states.