Paternity Attorney in Ypsilanti, Michigan
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and the more connections a child has with their family, the better their upbringing will be. This is why it’s important to establish paternity as early as possible.
If you’re unsure who your child’s father is, or if you’d like to establish your legal paternity to a child you know is yours, contact The Law Offices of John R. Bailey today to speak with an experienced family law attorney. From his offices in Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo, Michigan, Attorney John Bailey is able to help families throughout the region, including Belleville, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Portage.
Why Paternity Is Important
Establishing paternity has a number of benefits not only for the child but for the mother and father as well. Every child deserves to know who their mother and father are and receive emotional and financial support from them.
Children are able to take advantage of a parent’s health insurance, veteran’s benefits, pensions, inheritances, and Social Security benefits. Even with an unplanned pregnancy, both parents are still legally obligated to financially support their child, so by establishing paternity, your child now has twice the resources they would have otherwise. Plus, knowing your family tree is not only important culturally and emotionally, but it can also provide critical medical information like knowledge of any inherited conditions.
Additionally, both parents can gain peace of mind knowing there are two adults who are legally responsible for the child’s well-being. This can help a father who wants to establish paternal rights so they can pursue child custody, parenting time, or visitation rights with their child. It is also helpful for a mother who needs to establish paternity to obtain child support.
Establishing Paternity in Michigan
There are two ways to establish paternity in Michigan: voluntarily or involuntarily. The voluntary method is when both parents agree on who the biological father is, and they both sign an Affidavit of Parentage (AOP).
If the parents are not married at the time the child is conceived or born, then they can sign the AOP in the hospital at no charge, and both parents' names will be recorded on the birth certificate. You can sign an AOP later after the birth, but there may be costs associated with having it notarized and having the birth certificate revised.
You can also seek an involuntary establishment of paternity. This usually occurs when there’s been a paternal dispute, and either parent can petition the court for an “order of filiation.” The state can also file a petition to establish paternity if the child is currently receiving welfare assistance.
When Disputes Occur
In some instances, there may be a dispute about paternity, and this would result in an involuntary case. In involuntary cases, a court will attempt to contact the presumed father (or the father will come forward asking that he be granted his parental rights). If he acknowledges that he is the father, then the court can issue an order of paternity.
In cases where the alleged father denies their paternity, then a DNA test may be ordered. The results of modern DNA testing are very accurate (around 99.99%), so once this is established, there is very little a father can do to deny their paternity. If the test doesn’t establish paternity, then the case will be dismissed. However, if it does establish paternity, then the court will typically require the father to pay for the test. Note that “at-home” DNA kits are not permissible in court.
Serving Ypsilanti, Michigan
If you have questions about establishing paternity or would like to pursue paternal rights for a child you know or believe to be yours, reach out to The Law Offices of John R. Bailey. If you anticipate a dispute, it can be helpful to hire a paternity attorney to help you navigate the court procedures. If you’re located in or around Ypsilanti, Michigan, call today to set up an appointment.