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Paternity in Michigan
Attorney Ellen Paynter, a Michigan Paternity Lawyer provides information in this web site regarding Michigan Paternity law and procedure.
What is paternity in Michigan?
Establishing paternity means determining that the biological father of a child that is born out of wedlock is in fact the legal father.
How is paternity established in Michigan?
- If the mother of a child is married when the baby is born, her husband is assumed to be the legal father, unless a court order or judgment says otherwise.
- If the mother has been divorced or widowed for less than ten months, her husband at the time of conception is assumed to be the legal father, unless a court order or judgment says otherwise.
You can establish paternity in Michigan by agreement.
- If the mother is not married at the time of conception or birth, paternity can be established by both parents signing a Michigan Affidavit of Parentage and filing it with the Michigan Department of Community Health's Office of the State Registrar.
You can establish paternity in Michigan in the Courts.
- Paternity can be also be established by filing an action with the Court if no legal father has been established.
- Either the mother or the father may file a Court action to establish paternity.
- If the child is receiving public assistance, the Michigan Family Independence Agency or the Michigan Department of Human Services, via the local prosecutors office, generally will file an action with the local Court to establish paternity on behalf of the mother.
- Once the Court is involved, upon request, the Court can order a DNA test to establish paternity.
Why should you have paternity established by the court in Michigan?
Even if there is a Michigan Affidavit of Parentage filed with the State of Michigan, the biological father has no official right to custody or parenting time, nor is he obligated to pay child support.
- In Michigan, the Acknowledgment of Parentage Act provides that after a mother and father sign an acknowledgment of parentage, the mother is presumed to have custody of the minor child unless otherwise determined by the court or otherwise agreed upon by the parties in writing.
- Only after the Court enters a judgment or an order regarding Paternity (called a Judgment or Order of Filiation), does the father have official rights to custody and parenting time.
- Only after the Court enters a judgment filiation or an order of support, is the father required to pay child support.
When can a paternity action be filed in a Michigan court?
An action under the Michigan Paternity Act may be commenced during the pregnancy of the child's mother or at any time before the child reaches 18 years of age.
For more information about paternity in Michigan
You can find information on the State Court Administrator's Office Web Site.
You can review The Paternity Act in Michigan at MCL 722.711.
You can review the Michigan Department of Human Services information and Publication 780, What Every Parent Should Know About Establishing Paternity.