Michigan Family Law Attorney Assisting Clients with Issues of Paternity
Establishing paternity in Michigan is important for many different reasons, from creating family ties for your child to securing financial support. What is paternity? It is simply the state of being someone’s father. Paternity does not necessarily refer to biological fatherhood, but rather to legal parenthood and the rights and responsibilities that come with being a child’s parent. For instance, when paternity is established, the father has the right to seek custody and parenting time with the child, while the father also has a duty to provide support for the child. On the other hand, if Paternity is not established, the mother is awarded custody of the child. This means that the father does not have any rights to the child until paternity is established which makes it that much more important to hire a Michigan attorney that’s experienced in Paternity actions.
Depending upon the specific facts of the case, establishing paternity can be a complicated process. If you have questions about filing a paternity case or establishing paternity in Michigan, an experienced paternity attorney in Michigan can answer your questions today.
How Does the State of Michigan Establish Paternity?
When the parents of a child are married, there is typically not a reason to establish paternity. According to a fact sheet from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, if a child’s parents are married either at the time of the child’s birth, or at the time when the mother became pregnant with the child, then the mother’s husband is the legal father of the child.
However, when parents are unmarried, legal steps must be taken in order to establish paternity. Sometimes these steps involve establishing the child’s biological father. In other cases, biological fatherhood need not be established in order for the child to have a legal father. The following are the ways in which parents can establish paternity:
- 1) The unmarried parent(s) can voluntarily agree to name the child’s father (in which case the named father’s status as biological father is irrelevant);
- 2) The unmarried parent(s) can request that the court assist in the establishment of paternity (in which case genetic testing usually will be done to establish the biological father of the child).
Where Can I Establish Paternity in Michigan?
Paternity can be established through an Affidavit in four different places:
- At the time of the child’s birth in the hospital, when the father’s name is added to the birth record;
- At the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office; or
- By completing an Affidavit of Parentage form which is then sent to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Vital Records office.
Filing a Paternity Action in Michigan
If you need to file a paternity case, a fact sheet from the Michigan Courts clarifies that the action must be filed in the county where the mother lives. If the mother and the child do not live in Michigan, then the actions should be filed in the county where the alleged father lives or has been located.
After a paternity action is filed, there will be a paternity hearing before the court. The court either can enter a paternity order, also known as an order of filiation (identifying the legal father of the child) or it can dismiss the paternity claim.
Where Can I Seek Help with a Paternity Case?
If you have questions about establishing paternity to seek custody and parenting time, or if you have concerns about obtaining the identity and locations of the child’s father, it is important to reach out to an experienced Michigan paternity lawyer. At the law office of Paul J. Tafelski, we can help either the child’s mother or father with a wide variety of issues surrounding paternity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.