Farmington Hills Attorney Advises on Paternity Issues 

Michigan lawyer handles matters relating to legal fatherhood

Even when it is undisputed that an unmarried man is the biological father of his partner’s child, legal paternity must be established if he wants the right to see his son or daughter. Likewise, a woman cannot receive a child support order unless the law recognizes the man she seeks payment from as her child’s legal father. At Rosenbaum, Bloom, Meyerson & Galinsky, P.C. in Farmington Hills, Attorney attorney Louis Galinsky advises clients throughout the Detroit metro area on all types of concerns associated with legal paternity in Michigan. Whether you are a father pursuing visitation rights, a mother who needs funds to help raising her son or daughter or someone contesting an allegation of paternity, we can help. 

Establishing paternity after a child is born

Unless a man is married to the mother of his newborn child, he is not presumed to be the infant’s legal parent. However, if both he and the mother consent, legal paternity can be established fairly easily. One way to do this is by listing the man as the father on the child’s birth certificate. Another method is for the parties to execute an Affidavit of Parentage and submit to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Should a dispute exist about the child’s parentage, the matter might need to be resolved through a legal proceeding where the result hinges on DNA testing. 

Why paternity tests are often needed

There are many reasons why establishing legal paternity is so important, such as:

  • Custody and visitation rights — The first step toward an unmarried man obtaining custody and visitation rights is to obtain an order confirming he is the legal father of your son or daughter. From there, he can seek a parenting plan that gives him time with his child and allows him to take part in key decisions related to their upbringing.  
  • Child support — Fathers have a legal obligation to provide child support once legal paternity is established. Mothers should not hesitate to petition for an order naming the legal father so that they can get help with meeting the financial needs associated with raising a son or daughter.
  • Social Security and insurance benefits — Sons and daughters can be covered under a father’s health insurance policy and might be entitled to benefits from Social Security if he is disabled or dies before they reach legal adulthood. 
  • Inheritance — Michigan’s intestate succession laws state that surviving children are given a share of their father’s estate if he dies without a valid will. Unless legal paternity is established, the child will not qualify.

Whatever reason you have for establishing paternity, we will guide you through every step of the legal process. 

The process for obtaining a paternity test in Michigan

After a child is born, a child’s mother or putative father may request a genetic test from the MDHHS Office of Child Support. DNA samples are collected by rubbing a cotton swab on the inside cheek of the mother, putative father and child. The parties do not need to be in the same location. However, a lab authorized by the MDHSS must conduct the testing. Results of an at-home test have no legal effect. If a party refuses to undergo a DNA test, they can be ordered to do so by the court in a proceeding to establish legal parentage. 

Rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents

Unlike other types of legal matters that have statutes of limitations lasting a few years, a paternity petition can be filed until the child turns 18 years old. Back child support might be ordered once a man’s legal parentage is established. Both legal parents have a responsibility to pay for the costs of raising their son regardless of whether they were married or not. Informal agreements between unmarried parents on custody, visitation and child support can lead to frustration and serious conflict down the road. Establishing paternity gives legal force to custody rights and child support obligations. 

How to establish paternity in Michigan

The simplest way to establish legal paternity in Michigan is through the voluntary acknowledgement of both parents. If that cannot be accomplished, our firm can pursue a court order requiring genetic testing that rules out someone as a father or provides scientific evidence of a parentage. Attorney Louis Galinsky offers sound advice and advocacy in paternity cases, as well as related matters, such as custody proceedings and petitions concerning the establishment or modification of child support orders. 

Contact a Michigan attorney for a free consultation regarding a legal paternity issue

Rosenbaum, Bloom, Meyerson & Galinsky, P.C. in Farmington Hills provides counsel to Michigan residents on issues involving legal paternity and represents them in related legal proceedings. Please call 248-200-2240 or contact us online to make an appointment for a free initial consultation.