When a child is born to married parents in Michigan, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the child’s legal father. However, if a child is born to unmarried parents in Michigan and the parents are no longer in a relationship with one another, before the mother can seek child support or the father seek custody and visitation rights, paternity must be established. The following is a brief overview of how to establish paternity in Michigan.
Establishing paternity via an Affidavit of Parentage
If unmarried parents agree to name the man as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate, they can voluntarily execute an Affidavit of Parentage that will establish paternity. This affidavit can be obtained at the hospital when the child is born, at an area Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office, at the county Registrar’s Office or online. Each parent must supply a valid photo I.D. and the completed Affidavit must be signed in the presence of a qualified witness or notary public.
Establishing paternity in court
If the identity of the child’s father is in question, the child’s mother or purported father can go to their local family court to establish paternity. Generally, the post will order a DNA test to be performed to identify whether the purported father is the child’s biological father. If so, he will be determined to be the child’s legal father.
Establishing paternity is important
Establishing paternity is important not just for the parents, but for the child. It allows a child to learn more about their family history, health history and it allows the child to develop a relationship with both parents. In addition, the child receives financial support from both parents. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Parents in Michigan who want to learn more about child custody and child support are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.