What Are Your Legal Options for Establishing Paternity?


Whether you are the child’s mother or father, you have good reasons for wanting to establish paternity.

As the mother, obtaining child support can help you deal with financial challenges, and establishing paternity is the first step for an unmarried mother to obtain support. As a father, you want to be involved in your child’s life, and a child custody action requires recognition of paternity.

When a child is born to a married couple, the law presumes that the husband is the father. For women who were unmarried 10 or more months before giving birth, however, the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) recognizes paternity when one of the follows occurs:

  • The mother and father voluntarily complete an Affidavit of Parentage form.
  • One of the parties obtains a court order that determines paternity through DNA testing.

When one of the parties contests paternity, both sides should retain attorneys. The way to make sure your interests are protected in a paternity action is to work with an experienced family law firm.

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