Pennington | Cherne | Gaarder & Geiger Hagen, PLLC Your Neighborhood Law Firm

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At Pennington, Cherne, Gaarder & Geiger Hagen, PLLC, we lift the legal burden off of your shoulders and try to put you at ease.


In some situations, parentage must be established before an order for custody or child support can be determined. By Minnesota law, the biological mother of a child, who was not married to the child’s father when the child was born or conceived, has sole physical and legal custody of the child until paternity has been established, or custody determined.

When a child is born to an unmarried mother, there are a couple of options to establish parentage of the child. If both parents agree that the man is the biological father, they can sign a Recognition of Parentage. If the parties have not signed a Recognition of Parentage, either party may ask the court to enter an order finding that the man is the biological and legal father of the child. If either party questions the paternity of the child, the court will order both parties and the child to submit to genetic testing to establish paternity.

After paternity has been established, a father may ask the court for rights to parenting time and/or custody of his child. At PCG Law, our priority is to advocate aggressively for your child’s best interests. We believe that every child deserves to have both parents involved in his or her life, to the fullest extent possible.

In some cases, it may be necessary to limit or restrict a parent’s involvement in a child’s life, when that parent is likely to endanger or impair the child’s physical or emotional health and development. For example, chemical abuse and dependency often threaten a parent’s ability to establish or maintain an appropriate, healthy parent-child relationship. In these special circumstances, we will work to create a parenting-time solution that keeps your child’s best interests and safety a top priority at all times.