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Four ways to establish paternity in Michigan

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Child Custody |

Establishing paternity is not always a straightforward process for unmarried parents. However, it is extremely important to ensure that both parents receive the same rights and benefits as married parents. In Michigan, there are four main methods to establish paternity.

Paternity established at birth

The easiest way to establish paternity is at the hospital right after the child’s birth. The father’s name can be added to the birth certificate free of charge before the hospital submits the birth record. If this is done, paternity is established.

Affidavit of Parentage

Parents can voluntarily establish paternity by completing an Affidavit of Parentage. This form is available at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offices, the county registrar’s office or online. The form must be signed and notarized or signed before a qualified witness.

Court-ordered paternity test

If there is uncertainty or disagreement about the father’s identity, either parent or a prosecuting attorney can request a court-ordered DNA paternity test. This process includes genetic testing and a court hearing to establish paternity legally.

Paternity by adoption

Paternity can also be established through adoption. This can be done for a biological or non-biological child. Adoption makes a person a legal parent. Their name is added to the child’s birth certificate.

Why paternity matters

Establishing paternity is vital as it ensures a child has access to various benefits, including identity, family connections, financial support, health and life insurance, Social Security, pensions, inheritance rights, veterans’ benefits and a comprehensive family medical history. Beyond legal rights, establishing paternity helps a child build a relationship with both parents and provides a sense of identity and belonging.