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When a DNA test is not enough: Fathers' rights in court

As an unwed father, you may be worrying about the status of your parental rights even before your child is born. Truly, establishing paternity is a key step in obtaining the fathers' rights you deserve. Fathers should realize that biological paternity does not automatically confer rights upon a dad; rather, a court order is often required. This is where an experienced family attorney can help you protect your legal rights in court, improving your likelihood of success when battling custody issues.

One of the first steps in determining paternity is the DNA test. This type of evaluation can easily identify the father of the child. However, a court order must be issued in order for the biological father to have access to his child. Fathers can work together with the mother of their child to establish paternity by completing a form called the Affidavit of Parentage. That form must be filed with the appropriate Michigan state agency.

Completing the form is not the end of the story, however. A family court must determine child custody, child support and potential visitation options through a formal proceeding. The good news: Even recalcitrant mothers are often convinced to pursue paternity confirmation because paternity information is required to obtain child support for the youngster.

Confirming paternity can be just the first step in a long road to securing parental rights, child custody and visitation. With that being said, fathers should not be dissuaded by the sometimes daunting task of asserting their fathers' rights. With the help of an experienced team of family attorneys, scores of Michigan fathers are able to achieve the positive outcomes they deserve in their own family law cases.

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