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17
March

How Is Paternity Established in Michigan?

By Jeffrey M. Salassa

father and daughter spending time after meeting with a Clinton Township paternity lawyer to discuss custody arrangement

Almost everyone is familiar with TV talk shows that sensationalize the reactions of individuals receiving paternity test results and while the antics of those individuals who agree to receive their results on national television may be entertaining, most people faced with a paternity test find it to be anything but a laughing matter. Establishing paternity is important for both the children and parents, and submitting to a paternity test can be a very sensitive issue.

In many cases, mothers want to determine the identity of the father so that they can receive child support from the father to assist them in raising their children. Alternatively, men may want to take a paternity test to prove that they are not a child’s biological father and thereby avoid their statutory requirement to pay child support. Additionally, men may also want to prove that the child in question is in fact their biological child so that they can receive custody and/or visitation rights with the child. Each of these situations is different, but all require the establishment of paternity.

The easiest way to establish paternity in Michigan is to have both parents sign an Affidavit of Parentage form, wherein both parents state that they are the child in question’s natural parents. However, in many instances the true identity of the father is unknown and, thus, must be established through genetic testing and the initiation of a paternity case. In some instances the State will intervene and a prosecutor will file a complaint on behalf of a mother. However, if this does not occur, either the mother or the presumptive father must petition the court to determine paternity and establish support, custody and/or parenting time.

After a complaint has been filed, a paternity hearing will be held wherein the Court will typically request that the father, the child and the mother submit to a blood test in order to determine, through DNA, if a biological relationship exists. Once paternity is established, the Court will enter an order on the issue as custody, child support, and parenting time.

Establishing paternity can be difficult and whether you are attempting to determine it for child support, custody, or parenting time, having the help of an experienced paternity lawyer is extremely important, as these issues will remain active well beyond the determination of paternity. Therefore, if you need help establishing paternity and ensuring that your interests are protected after the results are determined, please contact us at Iafrate & Salassa by clicking here or calling 586-263-1600.

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