information & Support for expectant fathers
We strongly believe in supplying supportive services to fathers as well as mothers and families. If you want to actively participate in the process, you need to take steps to ensure your rights. We’ve provided some information on these steps below; that being said, the information on this page does not constitute as legal advice. If you are a expectant father seeking information, you may want to consult with an attorney regarding your rights moving forward with parenting or adoption. Ask an attorney if they will provide one free legal consult to you as a birth parent.
Because we serve expectant parents in Minnesota, much of the information on this page is Minnesota-specific. If you are a birth father in a different state, you may want to contact an attorney to discuss the laws of the state in which you and the expectant mother live.
You can be involved in decisions about your child’s future
Many men take an active role in choosing to parent or to create an adoption plan for their children.
If you wish to parent your child, we can help connect you, individually or with the child’s mother, to resources for parenting, financial assistance, insurance, and more.
If you choose to be actively involved in the adoption planning, you can make many of the adoption-related choices that the mother can make, including: choosing what type of adoption feels right to you, the ability to look at profiles of prospective adoptive families, meeting potential adoptive families, making a mutually agreed upon decision regarding which prospective adoptive family is right for your child, and creating an agreement regarding on-going contact that is unique to you. The adoption planning process can be done together with the mother of the child, or separately, depending on what feels right for all involved.
MINNESOTA FATHERS’ ADOPTION REGISTRY
The Minnesota Father’s Adoption Registry provides a means by which a father can register to protect his rights to be notified of his child’s pending or future adoption. The registry is for potential fathers who have not established paternity and who are not married to the mother of their child. The potential father must register no later than 30 days after the birth of the child.Learn More and Access Registration Forms
Becoming a legal father
If you are not married to the mother of your child, there are steps you can take to become a legal father. When a child is born to unmarried parents, the father’s parentage can be established by:
- Signing the Recognition of Parentage; by doing so, both parents are stating that they both agree that the man is the biological father of the child and that they both want him to be the child’s legal father.
- Signing the Recognition of Parentage is an easy and inexpensive alternative to having the court order the establishment of a legal father. Both parents must sign this form to make the man the legal father of the said child. A Recognition of Parentage should not be signed if either the child’s mother or potential father is unsure if he is the father of the child.
- There are what some would consider advantages and disadvantages to signing the Recognition of Parentage. We strongly encourage you to learn more about the implications it may have by contacting an attorney and/or visiting the Minnesota Judicial Branch site.
- Either one or both parents can ask the court to enter an order finding that the man is the legal father of the child. This will establish both rights and responsibilities for the father. These rights and responsibilities may include scheduled parenting time as well as child support paid by the non-custodial parent.
- The parents can marry after the child is born and sign an affidavit that is filed with the Office of the State Registrar.
Every child has a biological father, but not all children have legal fathers. A legal father is the man who the law recognizes as the father of the child. When married couples have a child, the law automatically recognizes the husband as the child’s legal father and parentage does not need to be established. But if the child’s mother is not married at the time of the child’s birth, the child does not automatically have a legal father.
Sometimes parents want proof that a particular man is the biological father of a child before he is named as a legal father to the child. In these cases a mother or father can request genetic testing be done to establish paternity. Genetic testing involves either blood or swab (from the inside of the cheek) collections from the mother, potential father, and the child. Test results can be received anytime between a few days and a few weeks after the samples are drawn. Genetic testing can show that a man is or is not the biological father of the child with greater than 99% probability.
DNA Diagnostics Center | 800.310.9749
Memorial Blood Center | 612.871.6636 | 800.982.9134
See above section for actions that must be taken to become a legal father and consider consulting with an attorney if you have already completed a DNA test or are considering the implications of completing one.
What if one or both parents are under the age of 18?
There may be some differences in the process if one, or both, of the birth parents is under the age of 18. However, our pregnancy counselors frequently work with expectant parents who are minors and can discuss your particular situation if you choose to contact them.
Contact a pregnancy counselor today for confidential, free and nondirective services. We can travel to meet you where you feel most comfortable. You can contact us directly, or via the form below.
If your need is urgent, we recommend you contact our 24-hour on-call services at 651.287.2599.
General Contact Information
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