Minnesota parents may be interested to learn that, according to a study, men are more likely to readily acknowledge that they are the father of a child born out of wedlock if the mother and child meet certain conditions. For example, if the woman is more affluent or educated and if the child is a boy, the men involved may be more likely to acknowledge that they are legally the father.
In the U.S., establishing legal paternity at birth potentially reflects whether or not a man will be committed and involved in the upbringing of the child. Legal paternity is established when a man signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This form gives him certain parental rights and allows the state to collect child support more easily. However, there are many cases when legal paternity is not established. In fact, the study found that approximately 750,000 babies leave hospitals around the country with no legal father every year.
Researchers found that the establishment of paternity was more likely to happen when the mothers were not teenagers, had some form of higher education and private health insurance. Further, establishment of paternity was more likely if the mothers took care of themselves during pregnancy.
If a noncustodial parent wishes to establish paternity so that they can have an active role in parenting a child, a family law attorney may assist with filing the paperwork. The attorney may also help the parent understand their visitation rights as well as potentially crafting a parenting plan that will allow the parent to develop and maintain a strong relationship with the child. If there is evidence that the other person is not able to properly care for the child, the attorney may help the parent seek full legal and physical custody.