“Every child has the right to a parent-child relationship with both parents”

If the mother is married, either when she becomes pregnant or the child is born, her husband is considered to be the father (unless a court has determined otherwise).

But what if the mother is not married?

If the mother is not married, either when she became pregnant or when the child is born, paternity can be established either by a voluntary acknowledgement or a by a court order.

Voluntary Acknowledgment

At the hospital, a father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity when the child is born. His name can also be added to the birth certificate right at the hospital.

For reasons such as incarceration or military service, the father might not always be present at the hospital when the child is born.  Just because the father was absent, does not exclude him from this process. If the father wishes to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, legal documents need to be completed, signed by both the child’s mother and father, and submitted to the State of Michigan along with the required processing fees.

Court Ordered Paternity

If a father refuses to voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child, you may need to take legal action.  In order to resolve the issue, genetic testing and a paternity suit may be necessary. Genetic testing is done when the alleged father questions or denies paternity of a child. A paternity suit entitles an alleged father to a hearing before a judge to prove whether or not he is the father.

Once paternity is established, either voluntarily or by a court order, other legal issues such as child support payments, child custody, and parenting time may need to be determined.

It is in your child’s best interest to resolve any legal issues as soon as possible.