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Legal News in Minnesota

What is the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry?

When a child is born during a marriage, the mother and father are both listed on the child’s birth certificate. However, when a child is born to two unwed parents, the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry will likely come into play.

The Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry is run by the Minnesota Department of Health, and it is for fathers who:

• Were not married to the mother of their presumed child when the child was born; and

• Have not asked a court to name them as a child’s legal father
• Have not signed a Recognition of Parentage form with the child’s mother; and

• Want to know if their presumed child is in the adoption process.

When a child is born in Minnesota to unwed parents, Minnesota law automatically grants the mother sole legal and physical custody of the child. Having sole legal and physical custody of the child, the Mother has the right to put the child up for adoption, without any requirement that she notify the father or obtain the father’s consent.

If a man knows, or even suspects, that he is the potential father of the child, he should register with the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry. Here is a link to the Minnesota Department of Health Website and the required form:

Registering for the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoptive Registry does not give a father any legal rights to the child nor any parenting time. The father must initiate a court action for custody and parenting time rights to the child, absent the mother and father being able to work together to agree to custody and parenting time arrangements with each other, and formalizing that agreement with the Court.

If you have questions regarding the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry, or if you need legal representation in a custody or parenting time matter, contact Family Law Attorney Amy E. Sauter of Farrish Johnson Law Office, Chtd., for experienced, compassionate, and practical representation.


This webpage contains general information and not legal advice, nor is it an exhaustive representation of its subject matter. It is based on Minnesota law in effect at the time of writing. An attorney at Farrish Johnson can advise you about how the law applies to your specific situation.