What Is A Paternity Action?

In Michigan, you must establish paternity before you can seek custody or visitation with your child. You can establish paternity in one of two ways:

  • Having the Mother Sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity
    The most common way of establishing paternity is by having the biological mother sign an Affidavit of Parentage form acknowledging you as the child’s father. This process often happens at the hospital right after the child’s birth. By signing the affidavit, both parties agree that you, the man named in the form, are the child’s legal father. Once you sign this form, you don’t need to go to court to prove you are the father. This signed form also means that your name can be added to the birth certificate as the child’s father. This acknowledgment of paternity also bestows upon you the legal rights and responsibilities of a father, including custody and child support.
  • Genetic/ DNA Testing
    Genetic/DNA testing is another method used in Michigan to establish paternity. This method involves a scientific test that compares the child’s DNA with your DNA to determine if you are biologically related to the child. Usually, a medical professional takes a small sample, like a cheek swab, from you and the child. They then send these samples to a lab for testing. The results typically come back in a few weeks. If the DNA matches, the test proves that you are the child’s biological father. Sometimes, courts will order DNA tests during legal disputes. DNA test results provide strong evidence and are often used in Michigan family court cases about child support, custody, and visitation rights.

Once paternity is established, child custody and support are based the same way for unmarried parents as for married parents.

If you do not believe that you are the father of a child, you can also disestablish paternity using a DNA test. However, if you were married to the mother at the time the child was born, you are legally the father — even if you are not married.

As your lawyer, Lisa D. Stern will guide you through the legal steps to obtain child custody, visitation, and support.

Learn more about issues faced by unmarried parents, and please read our article ” The Importance of Establishing Paternity in Michigan.”

Do You Need a Paternity Rights Lawyer in Michigan?

A good lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help protect your rights. Here are some ways a paternity lawyer could assist you in Michigan:

  • Guiding You Through the Paternity Test Process: A Michigan paternity test lawyer can help you understand the testing process.  She can also explain what the results of genetic testing mean for your case and ensure that the results are valid in the eyes of the law.
  • Handling Child Custody and Support Issues: A child custody lawyer in Michigan understands the state’s laws on custody and child support. If you are the child’s father, she can help you fight for your right to be a part of your child’s life. This includes securing legal and physical custody arrangements, establishing parenting time, and determining how much child support is owed.
  • Representing You in Court: If your paternity case goes to trial, a family law attorney in Michigan can represent you in court. She can present your case in a favorable light and argue to maximize your custody and parenting time.

Contact Bloomfield Hills Attorney Lisa D. Stern

For an initial consultation with a Michigan paternity lawyer Lisa D. Stern, call 248-335-5000 or complete our online contact form. You can discuss every aspect of child custody, visitation, and support for unmarried parents with utmost sincerity and confidentiality.

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Contact Attorney Lisa D. Stern

For an initial consultation with attorney Lisa D. Stern, call 248-335-5000 or complete our online contact form. You can discuss every aspect of child support with the utmost candor and confidentiality.