When parents in Michigan are married and decide to divorce, the husband is presumed to be the child’s legal father for child support purposes as long as the child was born within the course of the marriage or the mother became pregnant within the course of the marriage. However, when a child’s parents were never married, and one parent wants to pursue child support, paternity must first be established.
The voluntary acknowledgement of paternity
If the child’s parents agree that the man is the child’s father, they may voluntarily sign a Affidavit establishing paternity. There are four places a person can obtain an Affidavit form to voluntarily acknowledge paternity. They are:
- In the hospital when the child is born
- At the parents’ area Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office
- At the parents’ local county Registrar’s Office; or
Both parents must provide a valid form of photo identification, and the signing of the Affidavit form must be done in the presence of a notary or qualified witness.
DNA testing may be a choice if the child’s parents are not married and have a disagreement regarding the child’s parentage. Also referred to as genetic testing, this is something the area family court can order to establish paternity.
The benefits to establishing paternity
Once paternity is established, child support can be pursued. However, there are other benefits to establishing paternity. Knowing who his or her parents are gives a child a sense of identity and belonging, especially if the child’s father decides to pursue visitation or custody rights. Child support gives the child the financial support needed as they grow, even if the child’s parents do not reside together. In addition, by knowing who his or her father is, the child may have valuable information on any health problems in their family history. This post does not contain legal advice, so those who are interested in establishing paternity may benefit from working with a professional.