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Unmarried fathers have custody rights in Michigan

Certain parental rights stem from marriage under Michigan law. For example, a man married to a woman who has a child is the presumptive father. That means he can have his name on the birth certificate without taking any special steps. In the event that the couple divorces, he will be able to seek custody of that child and will possibly have to pay child support.

If you aren’t married to the mother of your child, you might think that you have fewer rights. After all, your name may not be on the birth certificate. If you and the mother break up, the courts aren’t going to oversee that process, which means you don’t automatically get to ask for shared custody. However, you do still have parental rights.

Establish yourself as a father to get parenting time

Ideally, the mother of your child will agree to work with you and sign paperwork that will add your name to the birth certificate. If she acknowledges you as a father, that can speed up the process of getting shared custody.

If she doesn’t acknowledge you as the father, you may have to ask the Michigan family courts to assist you by ordering genetic testing. Once a genetic test confirms that you are the likely father, you can then ask for custody rights.

More parenting time reduces your other obligations

You have certain responsibilities as a parent in Michigan. Your child needs your presence and your financial support. The less time you spend with your children, the more support obligations you will likely have. Getting more parenting time can mean not only having a better relationship with your child but also reducing the financial strain that child support can sometimes cause.

If you want to assert your rights as a father in Michigan, the first step might involve talking with a family law attorney about your current situation and your goals as a parent.

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