There are many types of relationships parents can have with one another. Some parents are married and are raising their child together. Other parents are divorced. And some parents have a child together but never married and are no longer in a relationship with one another. If so, it is important that these parents establish paternity.
Why establish paternity?
When parents are unmarried, for the mother to pursue child support or for the father to seek visitation with the child, paternity needs to be established making the child’s father their biological father for legal purposes. However, establishing paternity helps the child out as well. The child gains a sense of identity from knowing who both of their parents are. Having their father’s health history, family ties and inheritance rights also helps the child. The child also has a right to other government benefits that are important if the father dies or becomes disabled. Paternity is important for both children and parents.
How to establish paternity
If a child’s parents are unmarried in Michigan, there are two ways to establish paternity. One is to establish paternity voluntarily. This can be done by signing specific forms at the hospital when the child is born. A second way is to establish paternity through a court action. Generally, the court will order a DNA test be performed to determine whether the purported father is the child’s biological father.
Paternity and parents’ rights
Establishing paternity is important for many reasons. Children deserve to have the financial support of both parents. By establishing paternity an unmarried mother can seek child support from the child’s father. Children also deserve to have a relationship with both their parents. By establishing paternity, the child’s father can seek custody or visitation rights with their child. It is important that parents understand all their rights and options for establishing paternity so they can make informed decisions moving forward.