Service Desk  

Judicial Branch Home > SHC Home > FIND HELP WITH: > Divorce, Child Support, Custody & Family Law > Paternity >

Establish Paternity by Court Order

To get a Court Order establishing paternity, the dad, the mom, or the county attorney files papers to start a paternity case in the local District Court where the child or the "defendant" lives. If either parent receives public assistance for the child, the county attorney will start the paternity case on behalf of the public. The law allows for this so that the county can ask that the other parent be ordered to financially support his child.

In a paternity case, the court always decides if the "alleged" father is or is not the "legal" father.

IMPORTANT! The court may order genetic testing on its own initiative or at the request of a public agency to show whether an alleged father is actually the biological father of a child. The mother or alleged father may also ask the court to order genetic tests, but they must then file an Affidavit (sworn statement) alleging or denying paternity and stating facts that show there is a reasonable possibility that there was or was not sufficient sexual contact between alleged father and the child's mother to conceive a child. See the law at MN Statute § 257.62 subd.1. The County Child Support Offices can provide more information on genetic testing.

The court may also order payment of child support, decide who has custody of the child, and set a parenting time schedule, if asked by one of the parties.

CAUTION! If you are served with a "Summons and Complaint" for paternity, you need to respond with your own papers to protect your legal right to ask for genetic testing, deny or agree to paternity, and to have a "say" in the outcome regarding support and custody.


« Back to Paternity Home

« Back to Divorce, Custody & Family Law Home

« Back to SHC Home