Child Custody Cases And Paternity Actions

content ImageParenthood and marriage are sometimes part of the same legal issue (as in a divorce) and sometimes not (as when parents are unmarried).

Factors Affecting Custody Cases

Whether a child's parents were married upon the child's birth, and whether paternity has been acknowledged and established, are two key factors in determining child custody. If the parents were unmarried, the mother has an automatic right to sole custody of the child until paternity is established, or a court decrees otherwise.

Establishing Paternity

To acknowledge paternity at birth, both parents, if unmarried during conception, and unmarried at birth, may declare that they are the biological parents of the child by signed and notarized documents. If paternity was not acknowledged at birth, but is later established, the father must petition the court for custody and/or parenting time.

There are a number of ways to establish paternity. If paternity has been both acknowledged and established, custody, parenting time and child support will be determined by the court.

Upholding The Best Interests Of The Child

When a child custody determination case appears before the court (either after the establishment of paternity, or during a proceeding such as divorce), the court will act in the best interests of the child. To establish the best interests of the child, the court looks at many factors, including:

  • What outcome is desired by the parties involved
  • What the child desires, if the child is of sufficient age
  • Who serves currently as the child's primary caretaker
  • How close the child is to each party involved

Custody is not automatic for fathers or mothers. Family circumstances vary greatly. When grandparents are raising a child, legal custody may be an option for those grandparents.

Due to the significance of the court's ruling, and the many factors involved in determining the child's best interests, it is in your best interests to obtain the services of a knowledgeable family law attorney.

Child Custody Attorneys Serving Parents And Children In Any Circumstances

At Patton, Hoversten & Berg, P.A., we have a great deal of experience handling child custody matters in divorce cases as well as in unmarried parents and grandparenting scenarios. Our attorneys will labor tirelessly to safeguard your relationship with your children. To discuss your Minnesota child custody case, call our law offices in Waseca at 507-835-5240, in Owatonna at 507-451-9000, in Faribault at 507-332-7425 or in Janesville at 507-234-5106, or call 1-888-835-5244 toll-free. You may also complete our intake form to request a consultation.