When Paternity Is In Dispute
A child’s natural mother is usually known to anyone who wants or needs to know who she is, but the identity of the father may be more challenging to discover. This is often the case when the mother is unmarried or when a child is born to a married woman whose marriage has been deteriorating. In such cases, one or more of these issues may arise:
- An unmarried mother applies for government benefits for the child and government officials require paternity information. These cases to establish parentage are usually initiated by the Attorney General’s office when a mother is on state assistance, making the state an interested party in child support issues.
- The child needs a paternity determination to be covered under their father’s health insurance, inheritance rights or other legal benefits that come with defined paternity.
- The husband of a married new mother or mother-to-be denies that he could have been the father and wants this clarified to avoid responsibility for child support. In Michigan, paternity in such cases can be revoked through provisions of the ROPA (revocation of paternity act).
Asserting your paternity rights or your child’s rights to paternity determination may be the most important thing you ever do for your child. Get the guidance you need from our family law team at Brandon Gardner & Associates.
Family Law Attorneys In Grand Rapids Can Help You Establish Or Dispute Paternity
A father’s loving relationship during a child’s upbringing matters a great deal for the child’s development and well-being. When parents are unmarried, the father may need a child custody order in addition to paternity determination to assert his rights to be part of the child’s life. Our legal team is ready to help you understand and navigate the path to paternity determination in your family’s case through:
- DNA testing
- ROPA court cases
Child custody orders are also important for fathers whose names are not on birth certificates because, without a legal acknowledgment of paternity, they may face challenges in establishing their parental rights and clarifying their responsibilities. Having a child custody order ensures that a father will have an ongoing legal framework to protect his rights and maintain meaningful relationships with his child.
Other aspects of a parent-child relationship can have a significant impact on a family where a father’s parentage is in question. In the words of Health and Human Services, a Michigan state agency, “A child has a right to benefits from both parents…[including]…health and life insurance, Social Security, pensions, inheritance rights and veterans benefits. [Such] benefits are very important if a parent dies or becomes disabled.”
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Straightforward ways of establishing paternity include marriage or signing affidavits in the hospital, a Health and Human Services office or a county registrar’s office, or online. If paternity is disputed, a DNA paternity test and/or a family court judge’s decree can determine legal custody. Married men can dispute paternity, but biological fathers cannot legally do so when the mother is married to another man.
- Dads that are being treated unfairly by the mom or feel like they’re being treated unfairly by the mom. Don’t let them see the child, don’t make them available when they should be, and don’t follow the parenting time that they’re supposed to.
- If Dad has signed the affidavit of parentage, that initially grants you some rights as the father, but initially, it gives the mother custody.