Unbeknownst to many parents seeking assistance with custody or support matters, the establishment of paternity in Michigan is often a significant first step for any legal matter involving the child(ren) of unmarried parties. Whether it is a father looking to exercise parenting time with a child who resides with his ex-girlfriend, or a mother hoping to obtain financial assistance to support a child that she shares with an ex-boyfriend, it is important for never-married parents to realize that they may not be able to dive right in with a Complaint requesting the end-goal relief that they seek.
If a child is born to a married couple, then the husband is automatically the child’s legal father. Therefore, if a child is born to a married woman, but her husband is not the child’s biological father, then appropriate steps will need to be taken to establish that the husband is not the child’s father. Even if the married persons acknowledge and agree that the husband is not the father, he will be required to financially support the child unless and until the biological father is identified and legally determined to be the father, at which time the responsibility to provide financial support can then be transferred to the biological father.
When the mother and father of a child are not married, paternity in Michigan can be established voluntarily by the parties. An Affidavit of Parentage can be completed at the hospital at the child’s birth, and the father’s name can then be added to the birth record free of charge right then and there. If an Affidavit of Parentage is not completed at the hospital, then the parties can obtain the document from the local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office for $46.00, additional copies are $16.00; as of January 2018. An Affidavit of Parentage can also be picked up from the local county Registrar’s Office or printed from michigan.gov. To simply file the affidavit to establish paternity (this does not include a copy or change to the birth certificate), the signed and notarized document can be mailed to:
Central Paternity Registry Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
PO Box 30691
Lansing, MI 48909
When the mother of a child is not married, and there is a dispute or uncertainty regarding the identity of the child’s father, then the local Michigan family court can help establish paternity. The first step is for the Plaintiff seeking to establish paternity to file a Complaint in the county in which the mother lives, requesting that the Court establish paternity and grant custody, support, and parenting time. A fee will be required at the time of filing and a summons will be issued. The summons and complaint will have to be served upon the Defendant. The parties will be required to appear at a hearing, and then the mother will be ordered to bring the child at a given time and location for a sample to be taken for a DNA test, and the father will be ordered to appear for his sample to be taken as well. Once the DNA test is complete, assuming the party is determined to be the father, an Order of Filiation establishing paternity will be established. Then the filing party can proceed with the request for custody, parenting time, or support, whatever the purpose of the case may be. After an Order is entered the Court will then be available to assist with the enforcement of any resulting custody, parenting time, and/or child support orders.
Your specific situation may be somewhat different from the norm; please call, 734.927.9782, the Canton Michigan Divorce and Family Law Lawyers and Canton Michigan Paternity Attorneys at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your questions regarding Paternity. We represent clients in the Metro Detroit area (Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Livonia, Westland, Ann Arbor, Novi) and throughout Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Livingston counties. The firm’s office is located at 8556 N. Canton Center Road, Canton, Michigan 48187