Revocation of Paternity in Michigan

Being a father in Michigan comes with certain rights and responsibilities, including the duty to care for and financially provide for your child. While many men enjoy fatherhood and want to be part of their child’s life, no one should have to support a child that is not theirs if they don’t want to. Unfortunately, if you are a child’s legally recognized father, not fulfilling your legal duties can get you in trouble. The only way to absolve yourself of the legal responsibilities of fatherhood is to prove in court that you are not a child’s biological father through a process called Revocation of Paternity.

Revocation of Paternity is a delicate, complex process in Michigan, but Bloomfield Hills family law attorney Lisa D. Stern can help. Stern has provided compassionate yet aggressive legal representation in family law matters for nearly 30 years, giving her vast experience in this complicated field. Our family law firm knows paternity issues are a touchy subject for fathers and families throughout Michigan, and we take an empathetic approach to these cases. Call us today or complete our contact form to schedule your confidential consultation.

Why Does Paternity Matter in Michigan?

Establishing legal paternity is a cornerstone in defining the rights and responsibilities of parents in Michigan. It’s not just about the title of ‘father’; it’s about the legal and emotional bonds that shape a family’s life. Here’s why paternity is so crucial in the realm of family law:

  • Child Custody and Visitation Rights: Legal paternity is the gateway to a father’s right to seek custody or visitation. Without established paternity, a man may have no legal standing to request custody or even visitation rights with a child. This aspect is vital for fathers who want a role in their child’s life. Establishing paternity ensures that the law recognizes the father’s relationship with the child, enabling him to play an integral role in the child’s upbringing.
  • Child Support: Paternity also has significant financial implications. In Michigan, both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially. Establishing paternity is a prerequisite for a court to order child support. It can help ensure that the child receives support from both parents, contributing to their overall well-being and stability.
  • Inheritance Rights and Benefits: Legal paternity can affect a child’s right to inherit from their father and vice versa. It also opens the door to benefits like health insurance, Social Security, veteran’s benefits, and other entitlements. This legal recognition can provide substantial support in a child’s life, especially in the case of the father’s untimely death or disability.
  • Emotional and Developmental Well-being: Beyond the legal framework, establishing paternity can have profound emotional and developmental impacts on a child. Knowing their father can contribute to a child’s sense of identity and belonging. It fosters a connection that can be crucial for emotional growth and stability.

Why Would a Michigan Parent Want to Revoke Paternity?

While establishing paternity typically focuses on forming legal bonds, revoking it is about undoing those ties. This action can have profound effects on the child, the presumed father, and the mother. Here are some key reasons why a parent might want to revoke paternity:

  • Discovery of New Information: A common reason for revoking paternity is the discovery of new information suggesting that the presumed father is not the biological father. This revelation can come through various means, including DNA tests, and often prompts a reevaluation of the paternity status.
  • Protecting the Child’s Best Interests: Sometimes, revoking paternity serves the best interests of the child. For instance, if the presumed father cannot provide a safe or supportive environment, revoking paternity might open the door for the child to establish a legal relationship with their biological father, who may be better positioned to offer care and support.
  • Financial Considerations: Revoking paternity can have significant financial implications. If a man is not the child’s biological father, he might seek to revoke paternity to avoid the financial responsibilities of child-rearing, like child support, especially if the biological father can provide that financial support.
  • Emotional and Psychological Well-being: The emotional and psychological well-being of all parties involved is crucial in paternity disputes. Discovering that a child’s presumed father is not their biological parent can be emotionally devastating. Revoking paternity can be a step towards establishing more honest and healthy relationships for everyone involved.
  • Legal Correctness and Integrity: Ensuring legal documents accurately reflect the truth is important. Revoking paternity can correct the legal record, aligning it with biological and factual reality, which is essential for various legal and personal reasons.
  • Enabling Adoption or a New Paternity EstablishmentIn cases where the mother has remarried or found a new partner who wants to legally adopt the child when the biological father doesn’t want to be involved, revoking the current paternity may be necessary. This action makes way for the new partner to establish legal paternity, either through adoption or other legal means.

How to Revoke Paternity in Michigan

According to the Michigan Revocation of Paternity Act, the law allows five reasons why a parent might seek to revoke paternity. Those five reasons are:

  • Mistake of Fact:This occurs when an individual signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity based on a belief or assumption that later turns out to be incorrect.
  • Newly Discovered Evidence: Sometimes, evidence that was unavailable or unknown when the parents signed the Acknowledgment of Paternity comes to light. This evidence must be something that could not have been discovered earlier, even with diligent effort.
  • Fraud: This involves intentional deception. For instance, if the mother knowingly misleads the presumed father about his biological relationship with the child, her actions could constitute fraud.
  • Misrepresentation or Misconduct: This is similar to fraud but can include unintentional acts.
  • Duress in Signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity: This happens when a person signs the Acknowledgment of Paternity under pressure or coercion.

If a parent believes one of these five scenarios applies to their situation, they must file a motion with the courts within three years of the child’s birth or one year of signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity, whichever is later. The law also allows prosecuting attorneys to file such motions, though these cases are rare.

After a parent or prosecutor submits their complaint, the courts will most likely order genetic testing to determine who the child’s biological father is. The judge overseeing the case will then schedule a hearing to review all the evidence, including the results of genetic testing, before deciding whether to revoke paternity.

It’s crucial to understand that just because genetic tests show a child’s legal father is not their biological father, that does not mean the courts will automatically revoke paternity. The best interests of the child are the guiding principle in these disputes, and the courts may decide that the current situation better serves the child’s well-being. If you wish to revoke paternity in Michigan, it’s vital to work with an experienced attorney who can present a compelling case on your behalf.

Contact a Detroit Paternity Lawyer Today

Attorney Lisa D. Stern understands the sensitive nature of paternity cases in Michigan, and she can protect your rights as you work through the legal process. Call our Bloomfield Hills family law firm today or reach out online to schedule a confidential consultation.

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.