According to Minnesota law, when a child is born out of wedlock (the parents are not married to each other) the mother is automatically awarded sole legal and sole physical custody (Minn.Stat. §257.541, subd. 1). This means that the mother has complete control over the child, and the father literally has no rights whatsoever. As a result, the father has no right to parenting time with the minor child, or to have any input with regard to how the child is going to be raised. The father also has no obligation to provide monetary support for the child, although the law does allow a Court to establish a retroactive child support obligation dating back up to twenty-four months from when the motion seeking child support is initiated (which typically creates an instant arrearage in the father’s child support obligation).
Consequently, for a father to obtain parenting time or custody of his children he needs to initiate a paternity proceeding, or custody proceeding. The same laws which govern custody rights and parenting time in marital dissolution cases apply in paternity proceedings (Minn.Stat. §257.541, subd. 2, 3).
We have also obtained favorable results for mothers in marital dissolution and custody proceedings.