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Divorce and Family Law

Why should I establish paternity and how can I do it?

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2021 | Paternity

It is not uncommon these days for two unmarried people to have a child together. Some of these partners will get married eventually and live happily together. Other times, these couples will break up leaving behind the question about who will raise the child. Oftentimes initially the child’s mother will raise the child. But before the child’s mother can seek child support or before the child’s father can seek visitation rights, paternity must be established.

How is paternity established in Michigan?

If a child’s parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father. Unmarried parents must take steps to determine who the child’s father is for legal purposes.

One option is for unmarried parents to name the father of the child voluntarily. This is done through an Affidavit of Paternity. An affidavit can be obtained at the hospital where the child is born up until the time the hospital files the birth certificate. It can also be obtained at your area Department of Health and Human Services office, at your county Registrar’s office or online.

If there is a question regarding the paternity of the child, unmarried parents can turn to the courts to establish paternity. This is often determined through DNA genetic testing.

What are the benefits of establishing paternity?

When parents establish paternity, the child’s mother has the ability to seek child support from the child’s father and the child’s father can seek visitation with the child. In addition, the child benefits from knowing the identity of both parents and family ties. The child may also have a right to certain benefits such as health and life insurance and inheritance rights. Children also benefit from knowing both parents’ medical histories. In the end, establishing paternity benefits both the parents and, more importantly, the child.