Michigan Family Law: Establishing Paternity

The information provided in this article is a guide to the basics of establishing paternity. Please call, 734.927.9782, and speak with a Michigan Paternity Attorney at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter.

Establishing paternity is important for unmarried couples in the event their relationship ends.  Establishing paternity provides a mother an ability to enforce child support orders or, in some cases, reunite estranged fathers with their children.  Establishing paternity provides a parent the opportunity to seek custody, parenting time or child support.

Paternity can be established when:

  1. both parents sign an Affidavit of Parentage, this is usually done at the hospital when the child is born;

2. When the mother files a Complaint to Establish Paternity;

3. The man whom believes he is the child’s father files a Complaint to Establish paternity and a                DNA test confirms that he is the father; or

4.  The prosecuting attorney Files a Complaint to establish paternity; this is done when the mother            is receiving some form of welfare benefits.

If an Affidavit of Parentage is not signed then paternity is usually determined by genetic testing.

If the parents marry after the child is born, they can sign a legitimation form, which grants the same rights as if the parents were married at the time of birth.  Even if parents never marry, paternity can be established voluntarily when the parents are certain of the father’s identity. In such cases, they may sign a legal form called a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.  Executing this voluntary acknowledgment can be done at the hospital following the child’s birth, or any time thereafter. The father’s name is then included on the child’s birth certificate.

When a child is born to a married couple, a legal presumption arises that the husband is the child’s father. Also, if the parents get married after the mother becomes pregnant but before the birth, the husband’s paternity is presumed in the same manner as if the parents were married at the time of conception.  However, there is no legal presumption when it comes to unmarried couples.

Please keep in mind your specific situation may be somewhat different from the norm. The information provided in this article is a guide to the basics of establishing paternity. Please call, 734.927.9782, and speak with a Michigan Paternity Attorney at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter.  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.