In the previous segment we looked at what Michigan law defines as “paternity”, and what the purpose is of the Michigan Paternity Act. In this segment we are going to look at the different ways that legal fatherhood can be established in the eyes of the court.
How paternity is established:
Paternity, if not established by a birth certificate, can be established in a number of ways. These include an affidavit of parentage, a DNA test, or a court order. We are going to break down what each one involves.
Affidavit of parentage
In Michigan, if a child is born to an unmarried mother, or to a woman who has been married for less than 10 months, the law requires that paternity be established. The fastest and easiest method for establishing paternity is the affidavit of parentage. This is a legal document signed by both the mother and father stating that the father in question is the legal father of the child. Once this form has been filled out, the information needs to be recorded by the Department of Community Health.
This form is available at all hospitals in the state of Michigan, and can be completed either after or before the birth of the child. If for some reason a couple is unable to fill out the form at the hospital, they can contact DHS, who will send out a support specialist who will make sure that they have everything they need to legalize paternity.
It is important to note that an affidavit of parentage is a legal document. Once it has been signed it cannot be “unsigned”, so to speak.
While anyone can purchase a DNA testing kit online and follow the instructions in order to obtain a largely accurate result, Michigan law will not recognize this. In order for the result of a DNA test to be legally recognized by the court, it must follow a strict chain of custody and be performed by unbiased, third party professionals.
The professional, usually a phlebotomist, will take a blood sample or a cheek swab, along with the donor’s information, which will then be sent on to a lab. Under US law, all DNA paternity tests must be conducted by laboratories that have been accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks.
Once a child’s biological parents have been established by the DNA test results, a court order can be obtained which will legally prove paternity for that child. It is important to note here that DNA testing, while currently considered to be the most advanced and accurate method of determining paternity, it is not 100% infallible.
Join us next time, when we will be discussing the last method by which paternity can be established, and why it would be important for a parent to do so. Until then, if you or a loved one need help establishing paternity in Michigan, or want assistance with a divorce, custody agreement, or even a personal protection order, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We are here to help you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.