What Unmarried Parents Should Know About Establishing Paternity

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan. In Michigan, if you are unmarried and your child is born, there are several steps you may need to take to ensure that both parents appear on your child’s birth certificate. Both parents may not automatically appear on the birth certificate, and establishing paternity is important to protecting both the rights of the mother to financial support and the right of the child to receive that support. In some cases, it is important to establish paternity to ensure that children receive the emotional and financial support they need and deserve.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, paternity means establishing who is the father of a child. Establishing paternity is an important legal step every mother should take. Firstly, it requires the father to legally pay child support, and secondly, it entitles the child to the father’s social security and other benefits.

When both parents are married, the husband is legally the father of the child. However, when parents are not married, paternity must be established—either through a judge or when the father voluntary signs a form that acknowledges paternity. If a father voluntary signs the form acknowledging paternity, he gives up the right to hire a family lawyer and to challenge whether he is the biological father of the child. Mothers may also need a family law attorney if the father denies paternity. Generally, a mother will bring forth a paternity suit, and genetic testing will be performed. If you are an unmarried parent and have questions about paternity, you may want to speak to a family law attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gordon & Hess, P.L.C. are family law lawyers who work closely with mothers and fathers who are facing questions about legal paternity.

For fathers who are estranged from their families, there are more options than ever to help them cope with the challenges of parenthood. According to the Detroit Free Press, more programs to help fathers are appearing throughout the country. For instance, in California, a program called PAPAS gives fathers the tools they need to be more involved in the lives of their children. Fathers are taught how to be present with their children and how to handle the challenging stresses of parenthood. In many of these programs fathers have an active desire to be a part of their children’s lives. For many, the first step of paternity is just the beginning of a longer parenting journey.

Once a father has been granted paternity, he can seek other rights as well, such as shared parenting time and visitation. Paternity, while coming with responsibilities, also has benefits, including the right of the father to be a parent and make choices for his child. Gordon & Hess, P.L.C. are family law attorneys in Grand Rapids, Michigan who work with diverse cases and can help unmarried parents answer a range of questions, from paternity and child support to questions related to child abuse, domestic violence and neglect. If you have questions, we’re here to help. Visit us at http://gordonhess.com/.

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