Paternity is the legal recognition of fatherhood. In Michigan, paternity is not as simple as Maury makes it seem. The fact that, biologically, “you ARE the father,” does not necessarily mean you are the legal father. The fact that biologically, “you are NOT the father,” does not necessarily mean you are excused from paying support. Rather, the law seems most concerned that a child is supported, despite what biology might tell us.
Paternity law is complex and the stakes are high. A family law attorney must be knowledgeable and up to date on the law before handling a paternity matter. In June 2012, Governor Snyder approved legislation expanding and accommodating revocation of paternity determinations or assumptions. The significance is that revocation is often a prerequisite to establishing paternity in the correct father. Paternity determinations can be based on DNA results or even testimony. If certain guidelines are met, revocation of paternity can be done by the current legal father, the mother, the man claiming to be the biological father, or the DHS.
The standard of proof is easier to establish paternity than revoke it. If certain guidelines are met, paternity can be established by a marital presumption, the mother, the alleged father, or the DHS. Consequences of establishing paternity can include custody and support determinations. It should also be noted that upon the birth of a child, a father could acknowledge paternity and appear on the birth certificate, yet might not hold important custodial rights until he obtains custody order.
The following are common paternity law scenarios: (1) A mother seeking to name a father to pay support; (2) A biological father seeking to obtain rights to his child; (3) A non-biological father seeking to disclaim paternity and avoid paying support in a divorce or non-marital situation.
Finally, timing is crucial in paternity matters! It is important that you act fast or your rights to revoke or establish paternity may disappear. If you have been denied standing in the past, under Michigan’s new laws you may now have a case. Attorney Dennis M. Germain can tell you if your paternity case has merit and explain to you the filing deadlines for your case.
Paternity matters primarily included the following areas:
- Establishment of Paternity
- Revocation of Paternity
- Paternity Testing
- Standing to Initiate a Paternity Action
- Acknowledgment of Paternity
- Orders of Filiation
- Presumptions of Paternity