Paternity is a legal determination that identifies the father of a child born out of wedlock. Either parent can request the court to establish paternity. Generally, paternity actions are started by a Prosecuting Attorney's office after a referral by the Michigan Department of Human Services. The Department of Human Services makes referrals whether or not a party receives public assistance. A party has the right to contact a private attorney to file the paternity action.
Paternity establishment is needed to identify a child's legal father. A complete and notarized Affidavit of Parentage form or court order establishing paternity can be used as legal proof of paternity. Paternity of a child must be established if a child is born to an unmarried mother or a mother who has not been married within the past 10 months.
If the mother is married when the child is born, her husband is recognized as the legal father.
If the mother is not married, the mother and father may establish paternity voluntarily by completing an Affidavit of Parentage form.
Paternity may also be established through a court order, after the biological father is determined by DNA testing.
Once paternity has been established, the court may order child support, reimbursement of medical expenses for the birth of the child and on-going health care expenses of the child.
Parenting Time (provision for the father or mother to see the child) is not automatically ordered in paternity cases. However, if a parent who has a paternity action pending would like custody or parenting time, he or she should advise the Prosecuting Attorney or their private attorney before the entry of the paternity order.
The Friend of the Court cannot help with parenting time (visitation) problems unless a court order for parenting time has been established by the court. If the mother and father marry after the court enters the paternity order, they must give a copy of the marriage license to the Friend of the Court to end the support order. Arrangements must be made to pay all money owed to any public agency.
On June 12, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed the Michigan Revocation of Paternity Act into law: 2012 PA 0159. The Revocation of Paternity Act allows the various parties to file a motion with the court challenging paternity in certain situations. When each party can file and why is different. The Act also governs several different factual situations.
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