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Q: MN Family Law ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: MN Family Law
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: taylorsdad-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 28 Jul 2005 06:47 PDT
Expires: 27 Aug 2005 06:47 PDT
Question ID: 548943
I have moved to Texas from MN. My two daughters live in MN with their
mother.(we were never married so there haver been no court procedings
yet) I am attempting to get custody, or at a minimum some visiting
rights. I know that I need to get a lawyer and I am saving up for
that. For now I am trying to get as much done on my own before
retaining a lawyer.
I ahve been told that I need to establish Parental Rights as a father
with the court first thing. Being on the birth cert. and raising them
doesnt mean a thing.

What can I do from TX to establish parental rights, and what then
would be the next step?

Request for Question Clarification by nenna-ga on 28 Jul 2005 07:09 PDT
What city & county in Texas are you in?


Clarification of Question by taylorsdad-ga on 02 Aug 2005 07:40 PDT
I live in Harris County, Houston, TX
It is my understanding that I need to handle all legal matters through
the MN courts though, because of differing laws and that being the
state my daughters reside in.
Subject: Re: MN Family Law
Answered By: nenna-ga on 02 Aug 2005 12:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Good afternoon taylorsdad and thank you for the question.

Please be aware that I am NOT an attorney.  All the information I am
providing is based off of my experience as a paralegal who has worked
in the area of divorce/parenting law.  This information is not meant
to be a substitute for legal advice.

Please also be aware that you do not need an attorney to obtain
custody or visitation of your children, though you might find the
process easier.   If, however, you feel an attorney would be
beneficial, I would suggest you contact the Texas State Bar
Association to see if they know of any attorneys in Texas who are
licensed to practice in Minnesota as well.  You can visit them at:

Texas Law Center
P.O. Box 12487
Austin, Texas 78711

1414 Colorado St.
Austin, TX 78701

Telephone Numbers
Toll Free: (800)204-2222
Local: (512)463-1463
Fax: (512)463-1475

Or call the Texas State Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-252-9690) or
1-877-9TEXBAR (Toll Free)

You can also you possibly talk to an attorney in Texas and ask them if
they could defend you Pro Hac Vice (Latin meaning "for this one
particular occasion.")  The phrase usually refers to an out-of-state
lawyer who has been granted special permission to participate in a
particular case, even though the lawyer is not licensed to practice in
the state where the case is being tried.

To select a Texas based lawyers, please visit 

( )

In Minnesota, there are two ways to establish paternity for a child of
unmarried parents. One is through a court action, which may be started
by you, the person claiming to be the children?s father.  The other is
a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) document, which can legally deciding

The Recognition of Parentage is a legal document that parents can sign
to make the child?s biological father the legal father.   Each parent
must sign it in front of a notary public, and it must be filed with
the Minnesota Department of Health, Vital Statistics. It will add the
father?s name to the child?s birth certificate.  A Recognition can be
revoked within a limited time period after it is signed or within a
limited time after blood or genetic tests indicate that the man who
signed the recognition is not the father of the child.  While this
document resolves the issue of paternity and gives sole custody of the

A party can start a paternity action against the opposing party by
service of a Summons and Complaint (legal documents). You can purchase
a Summons and Complaint for Paternity from the Family Court Self Help
Center for $5.00.  They are located at:

Family Justice Center
110 South Fourth Street
Minneapolis, MN  55401 
Phone: (612)596-8519

I am unsure as to whether they can mail you a copy or whether you have
to appear in person, so please give them a call to find out if they
can mail one to you.  Perhaps if you explained to them that you reside
in TX but need MN court forms, they can help you.  It is my
understanding that these forms come with detailed instructions on how
to go about filing them as well.

The court documents must include your name, date of birth, social
security number, and income and expense information, as well as the
children?s names and dates of birth.  The parties and children's
social security numbers must also be provided to the court. This
information is required to be filed with the court and served on the
opposing party.  After the Complaint has been served, the party who is
served must respond in writing within 20 days.

The county attorney?s office will either take action to resolve the
case by written agreement or by scheduling a court hearing where a
judge will make a decision on the issues.   The final court order
resolving the paternity action must address the following issues:

1.  The court will make an order determining the existence of the
father and child relationship.

2.   Custody. There are two kinds of custody - physical custody and
legal custody. Physical custody means having the right to physically
have your children live in your home and taking care of their physical
needs.  Legal custody means having the legal right to have input into
making major decisions regarding the children?s health, education,
religion, etc.

3.   Parenting Time (aka ?visitation?). Once you are legally
determined to be the father, you have a right to request parenting
PARENTING TIME (on the other hand, denial of parenting time is not an
excuse for failing to pay support.) Parenting time terms will be
addressed in the court order. If the parties cannot agree, the court
can order the parties to submit to an evaluation process.

 4.   If either party wishes to change it the children?s last name
during the court process, the parties must either agree to the change
or ask the court to order it be changed based upon good reasons.
Thereafter, if it is changed, the party must proceed on their own to
see that the child?s birth certificate if legally changed, as well as
any other legal documents.

5.   Child support is set according to the Minnesota Child Support
Guidelines. According to these guidelines, it is a set percentage
based upon the non-custodial parent?s net monthly income, plus
consideration of other factors, such as the resources of the parents
and the resources and needs of the child. Child support will be
automatically withheld by the non-custodial parent?s employer and will
be subject to a cost-of-living increase every two years. The parents
may also be obligated to contribute toward the day care costs for the
child, if any.  Below is a link to ?The Top Ten Things You Should Know
About the Minnesota Child Support System:

( )

6.  Under Minnesota law, parents are required to provide for their
children?s medical/dental needs. The court may order the parents to
provide insurance and payment toward uninsured medical/dental costs.

7.   The court may order the non-custodial parent to contribute a
reasonable amount toward the past expenses of the child. The past
support will be sought back to the child?s date of birth or two years
prior to service of the complaint, whichever is less.

8.  Minnesota law allows both parents rights to access of school,
medical and dental records, religion training records, and other
important records and information about the child. Each parent is also
granted the right to reasonable access and telephone contact with the
child. The court will grant these rights in all cases UNLESS the court
finds that a waiver of these rights is necessary to protect the
welfare of a party or child.

The court will determine the custody arrangement based on what would
be in the ?best interests of the child.?

Minnesota  Stat. 518.17 

Subdivision 1 - The best interests of the child

(a) "The best interests of the child" means all relevant factors to be
considered and evaluated by the court including:

     (1)   the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody;

     (2) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems
the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;

     (3) the child's primary caretaker;

     (4) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;

     (5) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a
parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may
significantly affect the child's best interests;

     (6) the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;

     (7) the length of time the child has lived in a stable,
satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining

     (8) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed
custodial home;

     (9) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
except that a disability, as defined in section 363.01, of a proposed
custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of
the child, unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the
best interest of the child;

     (10) the capacity and disposition of the parties to give the
child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and
raising the child in the child's culture and religion or creed, if

     (11) the child's cultural background;

     (12) the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if
related to domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, that has
occurred between the parents or between a parent and another
individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed
domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the
parent; and

     (13) except in cases in which a finding of domestic abuse as
defined in section 518B.01 has been made, the disposition of each
parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the
other parent with the child.
The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others. The
primary caretaker factor may not be used as a presumption in
determining the best interests of the child. The court must make
detailed findings on each of the factors and explain how the factors
led to its conclusions and to the determination of the best interests
of the child.

(b) The court shall not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that
does not affect the custodian's relationship to the child.

Subd. 1a. Evidence of false allegations of child abuse. The court
shall consider evidence of a violation of section 609.507 in
determining the best interests of the child.

Subd. 2. Factors when joint custody is sought. In addition to the
factors listed in subdivision 1, where either joint legal or joint
physical custody is contemplated or sought, the court shall consider
the following relevant factors:

(a) The ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their children;

(b) Methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision
concerning the life of the child, and the parents' willingness to use
those methods;

(c) Whether it would be detrimental to the child if one parent were to
have sole authority over the child's upbringing; and

(d) Whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has
occurred between the parents.

The court shall use a rebuttable presumption that upon request of
either or both parties, joint legal custody is in the best interests
of the child. However, the court shall use a rebuttable presumption
that joint legal or physical custody is not in the best interests of
the child if domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has
occurred between the parents.

If the court awards joint legal or physical custody over the objection
of a party, the court shall make detailed findings on each of the
factors in this subdivision and explain how the factors led to its
determination that joint custody would be in the best interests of the

Subd. 3. Custody order. 
(a) Upon adjudging the nullity of a marriage, or in a dissolution or
separation proceeding, or in a child custody proceeding, the court
shall make such further order as it deems just and proper concerning:
     (1) the legal custody of the minor children of the parties which
shall be sole or joint;

     (2) their physical custody and residence; and

     (3) their support. In determining custody, the court shall
consider the best interests of each child and shall not prefer one
parent over the other solely on the basis of the sex of the parent.

(b) The court shall grant the following rights to each of the parties,
unless specific findings are made under section 518.68, subdivision 1.
Each party has the right of access to, and to receive copies of,
school, medical, dental, religious training, and other important
records and information about the minor children. Each party has the
right of access to information regarding health or dental insurance
available to the minor children. Each party shall keep the other party
informed as to the name and address of the school of attendance of the
minor children. Each party has the right to be informed by school
officials about the children's welfare, educational progress and
status, and to attend school and parent-teacher conferences. The
school is not required to hold a separate conference for each party.
In case of an accident or serious illness of a minor child, each party
shall notify the other party of the accident or illness, and the name
of the health care provider and the place of treatment. Each party has
the right to reasonable access and telephone contact with the minor
children. The court may waive any of the rights under this section if
it finds it is necessary to protect the welfare of a party or child.

Source:  Minnesota Statutes 2004
( )

Minn. Stat.  518.175. 

Parenting time - General. 

(a) In all proceedings for dissolution or legal separation, subsequent
to the commencement of the proceeding and continuing thereafter during
the minority of the child, the court shall, upon the request of either
parent, grant such parenting time on behalf of the child and a parent
as will enable the child and the parent to maintain a child to parent
relationship that will be in the best interests of the child.  If the
court finds, after a hearing, that parenting time with a parent is
likely to endanger the child's physical or emotional health or impair
the child's emotional development, the court shall restrict parenting
time with that parent as to time, place, duration, or supervision and
may deny parenting time entirely, as the circumstances warrant. The
court shall consider the age of the child and the child's relationship
with the parent prior to the commencement of the proceeding.
A parent's failure to pay support because of the parent's inability to
do so shall not be sufficient cause for denial of parenting time.

(b) The court may provide that a law enforcement officer or other
appropriate person will accompany a party seeking to enforce or comply
with parenting time.

(c) Upon request of either party, to the extent practicable an order
for parenting time must include a specific schedule for parenting
time, including the frequency and duration of visitation and
visitation during holidays and vacations, unless parenting time is
restricted, denied, or reserved.

(d) The court administrator shall provide a form for a pro se motion
regarding parenting time disputes, which includes provisions for
indicating the relief requested, an affidavit in which the party may
state the facts of the dispute, and a brief description of the
parenting time expeditor process under section 518.1751. The form may
not include a request for a change of custody. The court shall provide
instructions on serving and filing the motion.

Subd. 1a. Domestic abuse; supervised parenting time. 

(a) If a parent requests supervised parenting time under subdivision 1
or 5 and an order for protection under chapter 518B or a similar law
of another state is in effect against the other parent to protect the
parent with whom the child resides or the child, the judge or judicial
officer must consider the order for protection in making a decision
regarding parenting time.

(b) The state court administrator, in consultation with
representatives of parents and other interested persons, shall develop
standards to be met by persons who are responsible for supervising
parenting time. Either parent may challenge the appropriateness of an
individual chosen by the court to supervise parenting time.

Subd. 2. Rights of children and parents. 

Upon the request of either parent, the court may inform any child of
the parties, if eight years of age or older, or otherwise of an age of
suitable comprehension, of the rights of the child and each parent
under the order or decree or any substantial amendment thereof. The
parent with whom the child resides shall present the child for
parenting time with the other parent, at such times as the court


Subd. 4. Repealed by Laws 1996, c. 391, art. 1,  6.

Subd. 5. Modification of parenting plan or order for parenting time.
If modification would serve the best interests of the child, the court
shall modify the decision-making provisions of a parenting plan or an
order granting or denying parenting time, if the modification would
not change the child's primary residence. Except as provided in
section 631.52, the court may not restrict parenting time unless it
finds that:
     (1) parenting time is likely to endanger the child's physical or
emotional health or impair the child's emotional development; or

     (2) the parent has chronically and unreasonably failed to comply
with court-ordered parenting time.

If a parent makes specific allegations that parenting time by the
other parent places the parent or child in danger of harm, the court
shall hold a hearing at the earliest possible time to determine the
need to modify the order granting parenting time. Consistent with
subdivision 1a, the court may require a third party, including the
local social services agency, to supervise the parenting time or may
restrict a parent's parenting time if necessary to protect the other
parent or child from harm. If there is an existing order for
protection governing the parties, the court shall consider the use of
an independent, neutral exchange location for parenting time.

Subd. 6. Remedies. 

(a) The court may provide for one or more of the following remedies
for denial of or interference with court-ordered parenting time as
provided under this subdivision. All parenting time orders must
include notice of the provisions of this subdivision.

(b) If the court finds that a person has been deprived of
court-ordered parenting time, the court shall order the parent who has
interfered to allow compensatory parenting time to the other parent or
the court shall make specific findings as to why a request for
compensatory parenting time is denied. If compensatory parenting time
is awarded, additional parenting time must be:

     (1) at least of the same type and duration as the deprived
parenting time and, at the discretion of the court, may be in excess
of or of a different type than the deprived parenting time;

     (2) taken within one year after the deprived parenting time; and
     (3) at a time acceptable to the parent deprived of parenting time.

(c) If the court finds that a party has wrongfully failed to comply
with a parenting time order or a binding agreement or decision under
section 518.1751, the court may:

     (1) impose a civil penalty of up to $500 on the party;

     (2) require the party to post a bond with the court for a
specified period of time to secure the party's compliance;

     (3) award reasonable attorney's fees and costs;

     (4) require the party who violated the parenting time order or
binding agreement or decision of the parenting time expeditor to
reimburse the other party for costs incurred as a result of the
violation of the order or agreement or decision; or

     (5) award any other remedy that the court finds to be in the best
interests of the children involved.  A civil penalty imposed under
this paragraph must be deposited in the county general fund and must
be used to fund the costs of a parenting time expeditor program in a
county with this program. In other counties, the civil penalty must be
deposited in the state general fund.

(d) If the court finds that a party has been denied parenting time and
has incurred expenses in connection with the denied parenting time,
the court may require the party who denied parenting time to post a
bond in favor of the other party in the amount of prepaid expenses
associated with upcoming planned parenting time.

(e) Proof of an unwarranted denial of or interference with duly
established parenting time may constitute contempt of court and may be
sufficient cause for reversal of custody.

Subd. 7. Renumbered 518.1752 in St.2001 Supp.

Subd. 8. Additional parenting time for child care parent. The court
may allow additional parenting time to a parent to provide child care
while the other parent is working if this arrangement is reasonable
and in the best interests of the child, as defined in section 518.17,
subdivision 1. In addition, the court shall consider:

     (1) the ability of the parents to cooperate;

     (2) methods for resolving disputes regarding the care of the
child, and the parents' willingness to use those methods; and

     (3) whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has
occurred between the parties.

Source:  Minnesota Statutes Annotated Domestic Relations
( )

If this answer requires further explanation, please request
clarification before rating it, and I'll be happy to look into this
further.  Good luck to you!!

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taylorsdad-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great! thank you so very much. This is everything I was looking for.

Subject: Re: MN Family Law
From: nenna-ga on 04 Aug 2005 09:09 PDT
Taylorsdad - thank you very much for the rating.  I am happy that I
was able to provide you with the information needed.  I wish you luck
with your daughters and if you need anything else, please do not
hesitate to ask!


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