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Bills passed by legislature would boost father's rights

At the beginning of June, legislators in Michigan passed bills which, if signed into law by the governor, would help biological dads assert their fathers' rights to be involved in their children's lives. The bill would be especially helpful in circumstances where the child's mother was married to someone else when the child was born.

Present Michigan law, archaic and originating more than half a century ago, presumes that the husband of the mother is necessarily the father of any children born during the marriage. This presumption ignores the biological reality that a child is sometimes the result of a woman's extramarital affair. It also makes such husbands, who are not the biological fathers, responsible for the child's financial support.

For a biological father in this position, it can be truly heartbreaking to not be acknowledged, and to not have a legal right to visit his child. It can be equally emotionally damaging to the man, not having the opportunity to hold his child or contend for custody in circumstances when he knows that he could provide his son or daughter with a good loving home. In some cases, he may be a more nurturing parent than the "technical" father.

In one instance, a man who fathered a now 6-year-old girl has not been allowed to even see her for the past four years. At the time he fathered the child, the mother was married but separated. The biological father responsibly provided financial support for his daughter for over two years, only to be cruelly cut out of her life when the mother got back together with her husband and then took the child away to another state.

The proposed new laws would recognize the status and rights of biological fathers regardless of existing marriages. There has been no word yet as to whether the governor will sign the law.

Source: Detroit News, "Mich. bills would extend biological fathers' rights," June 11, 2012

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