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Answering Common Questions About Paternity Suits


In the article Paternity Suits in Michigan, we discussed paternity suits and introduced the concept to you.

In this article, we will discuss common questions about paternity suits and provide you with some answers.

How does the State of Michigan legally determine who is the father of a child?

Generally, when the mother and the presumptive father cannot agree on the paternity of the child or when the State wants to bring forth a paternity suit, the State of Michigan needs to legally determine who is the father of the child. 

What is the main purpose of a paternity suit?

The main purpose of a paternity suit is to establish the financial responsibility and the moral responsibility of the father. It allows the State to set visitation rights and settle any other controversial issues between the parents.

The Court will determine the relationship between the parties after the determination of the paternity.

Can the court only recognize the biological father during a paternity suit?

No, the court is not required to just recognize the biological father in a paternity suit.

The system can designate a man other than the biological father to be the father of the child. Of course, determining the legal paternity can be complicated and the courts need to have several legal classifications of fathers. 

Once established, paternity will become difficult to change. With that, what are the different kinds of fathers that the court may set?

Acknowledged Father

The acknowledged father is the biological father of a child born out of wedlock. The parents admit that he is the father and acknowledge his responsibilities. In some jurisdictions, the father and mother will sign a declaration of paternity to establish paternity. In this instance, the father becomes liable to pay for child support.

When the declaration of paternity is signed, the acknowledged father waives the following rights:

  • The right to blood or genetic tests to determine if he is the biological father.;
  • Any right to a court-appointed attorney to represent him in court to determine if he is the biological father; and
  • The right to a trial to determine if he is the biological father.

In another article, we will discuss these rights more.

Presumed Father

The presumed father is the most contested and is often the subject of a paternity suit. Generally. The following circumstances lead to the presumption that the man is the father of the child, to wit:

  • The presumed father welcomed the child into his home after birth and openly held the child out as his own;
  • The presumed father was married to the mother when the child was either born or conceived;
  • The presumed father attempted to marry the mother in apparent compliance with the law when the child was either born or conceived, but technical reasons invalidate the marriage; or
  • The presumed father married the mother after the birth of the child and agreed to have his name put on the birth certificate or agreed to support the child.

Equitable Father

An equitable father is not a biological father or the adoptive father. In another part of this article series, we will discuss who an equitable father is and his rights. 

Unwed Father

An unwed father is a father who is not married to the mother. Unwed fathers have enjoyed fewer rights concerning their children. There is always a need for court intervention before the unwed father can exercise any of his rights.

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The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

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