Not all couples in Minnesota who raise children and live under the same roof want to get married. However, although living together as an unmarried couple can be complicated, this is usually magnified without the legal protection of marriage. That is why these couples need to educate themselves and plan in advance to avoid many of these complications. If you are one of them, you should be aware of the Minnesota child custody laws when you aren’t married.
Who Gets Child Custody
When a child is born to an unmarried mother, Minnesota law automatically grants sole custodianship to the mother. The father needs to seek a court order to have the legal right to see his child. Although this can seem unfair to unmarried fathers at first, this can prevent unmarried mothers from pursuing child support from the father of the child, especially when paternity has not been established. Therefore, unmarried fathers who desire custody or visitation of their child must first establish paternity.
What to Expect in Custody Battles Between Unmarried Parents
If an unmarried father tries to establish paternity to his child and the mother disputes the paternity claim, the father can petition the family law court. Also, he can get in touch with the Child Support Enforcement Division. The petition is usually important for unmarried couples who don’t live together. Both parents must remain friendly and willing to compromise to avoid lengthy court battles. They must work out a reasonable and agreeable custody arrangement that may be approved by the court for the best interest of their child.
Factors that Courts Consider When Determining Child Custody or Visitation Rights
To determine custody and visitation rights, the court considers the interest of the child. This usually includes the time spent with every parent and every parent’s involvement in the child’s upbringing. Other factors they consider include every parent’s financial status, residence, and moral character.
Seeking Help from a Lawyer
Child custody can be complicated; however, unmarried parents can further complicate things. An experienced and knowledgeable child custody attorney in Minnesota can help parents make sense of the process. Also, they will inform them of their rights and represent them in court if necessary. The best attorney will help unmarried couples build strong family relationships for their children without jeopardizing their own rights. It is imperative to seek the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in child custody for guidance and interstate child custody problems.