Single Fathers - Custody, Visitation and Fathers' Rights in Minnesota

My ex-girlfriend will not allow me to see my son. What can I do?

This is a common question, and I am often giving the answer of: Nothing, until you go to court.

The grim reality is this: Fathers who have children that were born out of wedlock are at a legal disadvantage, unless and until they assert their rights in a court of law. When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother automatically has sole legal and sole physical custody of that child. Further, the father has no right to parenting time (visitation) unless the mother agrees. In addition, child support is independent of custody and parenting time. This means that a child support order may issue, without any reference to custody or parenting time.

Only a court order can bestow upon the father his "rights" when it comes to his child. A court order results only in two situations:

  1. First, the parties can agree to the father having custody and parenting time. If this is the case, that agreement must then be reduced to an Order to be signed by the judge. Once the Order is signed by the judge, it is binding and can then be enforced.
  2. Second, the Court must decide. If you and your child's mother cannot agree, you must then file the necessary paperwork with the court, asking for the Court to make the final determination.

The good news is this: Rights for the father do exist. Until he petition's the court, however, there is little he can do to see his child or voice his opinion regarding the child's upbringing.

For more information about visitation for fathers in Minnesota, custody for fathers in Minnesota, father's rights or any other family law related issue, contact family law attorney Christopher M. Banas at 651-492-1069.