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Legal system that puts children first isn't failed

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This is in response to the letter of July 14 claiming a "flawed legal system."

First: the contents of the letter do not apply to men who are married to the mother of their children when the child is born. Their rights are co-equal with those of the mother. By Minnesota statute a married man is presumed to be the natural father of children born during the marriage. Marriage is favored under Minnesota law.

Second: It is easy to determine the biological mother of a child born out of wedlock, but that is not so true of a putative father. Thus the law, whose primary concern is the best interest of the child, requires of an unmarried father that he obtain a court order determining that he is the child's father. (If not admitted by the mother, blood testing can establish the natural father.) Once a determination of paternity is adjudicated, such a father has the same rights as a married man. The determination of parenting time is accomplished under the same rules at that point as in the case of a divorce.

The writer of the July 14 letter is correct that an unmarried father must take affirmative action to assert his legal position. But once that action is taken he is treated as an equal by the justice system. For that reason I would dispute that the system is flawed. It is doing what it should, watching out for the best interests of the innocent children.

Robert Woodke

Attorney

Bemidji

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