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What you need to know about establishing paternity in Michigan

As an unwed father in Detroit, Michigan, you need to know that you do have a variety of legal rights when it comes to your child. To access many of those rights, however, you must establish that you are the child's biological parent. There are actually a variety of ways to prove paternity in the state of Michigan; let us walk you through the process so you are prepared when the day finally arrives.

First, an unwed father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity at the time the child is born by adding his name to the birth record. This can be done at no cost until the hospital files the formal birth certificate. If the father is unable to add his name to the birth certificate during that time frame, the changes can still be made for a fee. Voluntary paternity can also be established at the county Registrar's Office and the Department of Human Services. A form called the Affidavit of Parentage form can also be completed online at the Michigan Department of Community Health, though some additional measures such as notarization are also required for that method.

Parents who want hard evidence to support the paternity allegations may choose to pursue genetic testing. Fathers can establish whether they are the biological father of the child through a paternity testing procedure. In some cases, court orders and other legal proceedings are required to compel parents into complying with the DNA testing process. Remember that if a mother is married when her child is born, the husband is automatically recognized as the legal father -- even if he is not the biological father.

Establishing paternity may seem like an overwhelming process, but it actually only requires attention to detail and a bit of persistence. Make sure that you are receiving access to your child -- and your full parental rights -- by understanding your responsibilities under paternity law. Requesting visitation rights can be a somewhat lengthy process, but establishing paternity early on can help you maximize the outcome of your family law case.

Source: State of Michigan Department of Human Services, "Paternity Establishment" Aug. 06, 2014

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