How to Establish Paternity in Michigan

Under Michigan law, you need paperwork to become a “legal father.” That means that you have to have one of the following types of documents to secure your legal rights as a parent:

  • Order of Adoption
  • Birth Certificate
  • Affidavit of Parentage
  • Order of Filiation

Affidavit of Parentage

If you do not have this paperwork and believe you are a child’s biological father, you have two options. You and the mother can jointly sign an Affidavit of Parentage, and then the State will amend the birth certificate (upon request) to list you as the child’s father. That’s one option.

Establishing Paternity in Court

If the mother will not agree to sign an Affidavit of Parentage, however, then you have to file a Complaint for Paternity, undergo DNA testing, and obtain an Order of Filiation. That is your second option. This Order can then be sent to Lansing, and the State will amend the birth certificate (upon request) to list you as the child’s father. As an aside, if a mother seeks public assistance and has a child without a legal father, the State will basically force the mother to participate in a paternity action as a condition of receiving public assistance. The point to that is to obligate the child’s biological father to child support instead of having the State provide the support.

Father's Rights in Michigan

You are not liable for child support of a child if you are not the legal father. You are also not entitled to visitation or parenting time with a child if you are not the child’s legal father.

If your child is put up for adoption and you want to contest that, you can do that even if you are not yet the “legal father.” Under the Adoption Code, “putative fathers” are given the right to a hearing and are also entitled to contest an adoption. You need an attorney familiar with the Adoption Code if you want to contest an adoption.

If you are the child’s biological father but another man has become the child’s legal father, you can file a complaint under the Revocation of Paternity Act if the child is still less than three (3) years old. Again, you need an attorney familiar with this statute to represent you.

Our Ann Arbor Paternity Attorneys

Musser Love, P.C. has decades of experience with adoption law and paternity actions. Our firm is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is ready to discuss your legal issue, please call one of our skilled attorneys at (734) 677-0776 or contact Musser Love online or via e-mail.