On July 21, 2010, Representative Lori introduced a bill in the Michigan legislature that would amend the Paternity Act so that some biological fathers will be able to protect their parental rights. The proposed law would allow biological fathers the right to file an action to establish paternity of a child born to a married woman under certain circumstances. The proposal is an effort to avoid the harsh results that have occurred in prior cases such as Numerick v Krull where a biological dad was prevented from having a parent-child relationship with his child because the child was born while the mother was married to another man. Progress so far? The proposed legislation has been referred to the Committee on Families and Children's Services.
NOTE: Since this blog post was published there have been sweeping changes to Michigan's Parentage laws. Click here to read Blog Post Sweeping New Changes to Parentage Laws in Michigan. If you have a paternity issue involving a child born or conveived while the mother was married to another man and the mother and child live in Michigan, call Jeanne Hannah's office at 231-275-5600 to schedule a telephone conference to discuss how the new law may impact your particular parentage rights.
The most significant changes would allow a (non-rapist) putative father the right to establish paternity under certain circumstances under Section 4, which would read:
Sec. 4. (1) An action under this act shall be brought in the circuit court by the any of the following:
(a) The mother, the father
(b) A child who became 18 years of age after August 15, 1984 and before June 2, 1986, or the family independence agency
(c) The department of human services as provided in this act.
(d) An individual named as the child's father on a certificate of birth or the child's presumed father.
(e) A putative father. However, a putative father may not bring an action if the child is conceived as the result of acts for which the putative father was convicted of criminal sexual conduct under sections 520b to 520e of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520b to 750.520e.
(2) If the mother was married at any time from the conception to the date of birth of the child, a putative father may not bring an action under this act unless the action is commenced within 1 year after the birth of the child and 1 or more of the following apply:
(a) The mother and the putative father mutually and openly acknowledge a biological relationship between the putative father and the child by doing all of the following:
(i) Filing an affidavit with the court stating that the putative father is the biological father of the child.
(ii) Filing with the court the results of blood or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling that establish that the probability of paternity by the putative father is 99% or higher.
(iii) Notifying each individual described in subsection (1)(d) that the affidavit and results have been filed.
(b) All of the following apply:
(i) The mother was separated from her husband under an order or judgment entered in an action for separate maintenance brought under section 7 of 1846 RS 84, MCL 552.7, or not married at or around the time of conception.
(ii) The putative father files an affidavit with the court stating that he is the biological father of the child and that he consents to DNA identification profiling.
(iii) The putative father notifies each individual described in subsection (1)(d) that he has filed the affidavit.
(c) All of the following apply:
(i) The mother acknowledges in writing a biological relationship between the putative father and the child.
(ii) The putative father demonstrates to the court that he has had parenting time with the child by agreement with the mother.
(iii) The putative father files an affidavit with the court stating that he is the biological father of the child and that he consents to DNA identification profiling.
(iv) The putative father notifies each individual described in subsection (1)(d) that he has filed the affidavit.
(3) A judgment in an action under subsection (2) does not relieve an individual described in subsection (1)(d) from any child support obligation incurred before entry of the judgment.
(4) The Michigan court rules for civil actions apply to all proceedings under this act. A complaint shall be filed in the county where the mother or child resides. If both the mother and child reside outside of this state, then the complaint shall be filed in the county where the putative father resides or is found. The fact that the child was conceived or born outside of this state is not a bar to entering a complaint against the putative father.
(5) (2) An action to determine paternity shall not be brought under this act if the child's father acknowledges paternity under the acknowledgment of parentage act, 1996 PA 305, MCL 722.1001 to 722.1013, or if the child's paternity is established under the law of another state.
Some earlier articles on the topic of unmarried fathers protecting their parental rights are found on Updates in Michigan Family Law.
Are you in need of an attorney to help you establish or disestablish your paternity? Telephone Jeanne M. Hannah today at (231) 275-5600. See her website http://jeannehannah.com for information.