Families in Michigan come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes unmarried people have a child with one another. Sadly, these relationships do not always last. If unmarried parents break up, should a mother want to pursue child support or should the father want to pursue visitation time with the child, they will need to legally establish paternity.
How to establish paternity
Paternity in Michigan can be established in two basic ways. One way is voluntarily, through an Affidavit of Parentage. You can obtain an affidavit at the hospital following the birth of your child, at a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office or a county registrar’s office. An Affidavit of Parentage can even be completed online. The Affidavit must be signed in the presence of a witness or notary.
Another way to establish paternity is to get a court order. Generally, the court will request a DNA paternity test be performed to establish that the man is the child’s biological father. This may be an option if the child’s parentage is in question.
Why establish paternity?
Most of the time a mother chooses to establish paternity in order to obtain child support from the father or the father chooses to establish paternity so he can seek visitation time with his child. However, there are many other reasons for establishing paternity. The child gains a sense of identity knowing their parentage. They also have rights to health insurance, Social Security, and inheritance rights among other financial benefits. In addition, the child has access to medical information, specifically, knowledge of inherited health issues. Ultimately, a paternity action benefits the child, the mother and the father, improving their lives.