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Private operating foundation

wow great i have read many articles about this topic and every time i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work!

Jeanne M. Hannah

Mike, I can't find your October 2008 post or my response. I may have responded privately. Please make an appointment for a telephone consultation regarding your matter. There are things I could say to you privately on the phone that I cannot say publicly in the comment section. Jeanne 1-231-275-5600

Jeanne M. Hannah

Mike, your situation is made more difficult by the sweeping changes in Michigan law that occurred on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The changes in the law will determine your course of action. See this recent blog post about changes in Michigan's parentage law.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Mike, you and your wife are going to have to decide what you want to do about this. Likely you should call to schedule a consultation with me. Sweeping changes in Michigan law occurred on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The changes in the law will determine your course of action. See this recent blog post about changes in Michigan's parentage law.


I have a question. My wife and I split up this summer and she is now pregnet. My wife and I have since decided to get back together. Do I have to adopt the baby or am I going to be listed as the father on the birth certificate? What are the rights of the biological father? Am I commiting fraud since I know that I am not the biological father? I live in Michigan.

Does the new bills on the table in Michigan effect this??


Jeanne, my post on Oct. 29th 2008 "Have a question. My wife and I split up this summer and she is now pregnet. My wife and I have since decided to get back together. Do I have to adopt the baby or am I going to be listed as the father on the birth certificate? What are the rights of the biological father? Am I commiting fraud since I know that I am not the biological father? I live in Michigan." You responded and things are good. I love my son!!! With the new laws that are pending do I have anything to worry about? I don't want to loose my son even though he is not DNA!!

Jeanne M. Hannah


Thank you for reaching out to me. I have made some inquiries to professionals in whom I have confidence. I believe that they would be in a good position to facilitate reunification in a manner that does not lead to barriers built by fear.

Please contact me at [email protected] in the next few days. I hope to have some connections for you. Best, Jeanne


I gave up my son for adoption when he was 5 1/2 years old because his mother married another man, moved out of the state, and convinced me that it was the right thing to do. He is now 18 yrs old and lives nearby. His mother never told him that I was his father and led him to believe that his adoptive father is. I never had any other children and want very much to reconnect with my son. I do not know the best way to do this. My biggest concern is for his adjusting to knowing even though deep down I think he does.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Maggie, you can still get divorced. You should contact a lawyer to advise you because your situation is going to be complicated. Contact me if you need a referral.


Hi, Iive in Michigan and recently found out that I am pregnant. My husband and I have not lived in the same household for 2 months. He was physically and mentally abusive. We have 2 children together. My pregnancy is with another man, and I'm only about 5 weeks. Can I still get divorced? Will the court grant my husband joint or even full custody of our kids because I'm pregnant by another man?

Jeanne M. Hannah

Steven, your comment raises questions that are so complicated that I cannot respond on this comment section. You might call my office to schedule a consultation, however. In about 1/2 hour I could describe the legal issues for you. Jeanne

Steven Tremper

I have been with my fiancee for 6 months now. We are pregnant together, but she has a 2 year old child with her separated husband (separated for over a year). We are about to file her divorce to him, as neither he or she wants to be together or work things out. How will this affect the birth of our child together? Will her husband have any right to my child? I know she is worried about the affect of this divorce on the custody of her 2 year old, and is also worried about the legal action he can take with her being pregnant with my child. Is there any advice you can give me?

Tonya Bossert

I live in Michigan..Im husband is incarcerated I got pregnant by another man..when I got pregnant I filed for a divorce and a couple months into my pregnancy stopped the divorce and broke up with my boyfriend (babys dad). My baby is now 11 weeks old and the babys dad has served me with a summons and complaint on joint physical legal custody and the complaint is that I stopped my divorce. I let the babys dad come and visit him,etc. I went with babys dad to do DNA and the results came back that he is indeed the bio dad. As being said, does DNA mean anything in MI since I am still married and my husband hasnt been served any papers yet? In MI even if DNA has been proven does the babys bio dad have any rights? We go to court soon and Im just curious if the DNA is going to hold up since Im still married but husband is incarcerated. Im williing to let him have joint custody but not joint legal physical...was wondering if this can even go to court yet without my husband signing off?


Thanks for the advice. Pregnancy tests show that she is not actually pregnant, and the prospective bio-dad already packed his stuff and left town anyway.

Completely different situation now. Just have to try and patch up marriage.

Again, thanks for your advice and quick response.

Jeanne M. Hannah

J.C., Michigan has not adopted the UPA (Uniform Parentage Act) and I am not, therefore competent to comment on the specifics of your case. I suggest that you contact a competent family law lawyer in your local area.

This is what I believe that you may be told: If your wife plans to give the child up for adoption, the likely bio-dad will be entitled to custody if he requests it.

It has been a long time since I have looked at the Model Act. Therefore, I cannot offer an opinion as to whether the likely bio-dad will be able to force his way into your family life if you are successful in convincing your wife to keep the child.

In Michigan (with no UPA), as long as husband and wife are united in their stand to keep the child conceived and/or born during the marriage, then there is no problem. However, there are some issues related to whether a husband can later deny parentage and financial responsibility if the parties later divorce.

I strongly urge you to seek local counsel.


My situation is slightly different, and I also live in Oklahoma. I have been reading the UPA but am having trouble understanding specifics. Any advice would be appreciated.

My wife got pregnant by another man and just informed me. I told her that we could still work it out, and that I would take care of her and the child. She was pregnant when we met, and I have adopted that child already. She said she is planning on giving the child up for adoption anyway, no matter what I said. When she informed the likely bio-dad he said that he wanted to be a part of the child's life, and would not agree to adoption. If dna testing is done, and it is determined to be his child, is there any way I can keep it as mine or that my wife could give it up for adoption? This may appear selfish, but I want to keep my marriage together more then anything. I don't know if I can stay with my wife and take care of another mans child, acting like a father only part of the time!

Also, can dna testing be forced by court? Obviously they cannot force testing till after the child is born, but does she have to agree to it? It is my understanding that without dna testing there is no case for the bio-dad.


Jeanne Hannah,
Thank you so greatly for responding to me today! I spent all night on your website and found it very helpful. I also think the Blog on Domestic Violence is a great tool for many hiding and/or recovering Domestic Violence victims. Thank you for having such compassion for those who need a little guidance in life!

Jeanne M. Hannah

Melissa, you don't have any problems. If this child is born during your marriage to your second husband, he is the legal father and his name will be placed on the child's birth certificate.


I just divorced my ex husband today. We have not lived together in 9 years. I had a lot of trouble finding him. I might be pregnant with my soon to be husband. How will this effect us? I'snt there a law in Michigan that states how long after divorce you can get pregnant? If we marry this month, and the baby comes around June, does my new husband go on the birth certificate? I would be 2 weeks pregnant at the most?

Jeanne M. Hannah


Michigan courts will not terminate his parental rights unless there is a stepfather willing to adopt your daughters.

When you say that "paternity has been established but there is no custody order" I understand that to mean that your ex signed an acknowledgment of parentage at the hospital when your daughters were born, but neither he nor you ever filed a custody action.

The Acknowledgment of Parentage Act, a Michigan statute, at section 1006 provides that the mother has initial custody without prejudice to either parent in seeking custodial rights.

As a result, you can deny him the right to see or to take your daughters. If he persists, you can seek a personal protection order on behalf of your daughters. There is no filing fee to be paid if you file such an action. You can find more information about PPOs here.


I have two kids with my ex. We both live in Michigan and my little girls were born in Michigan also. Paterniy has been established for both my daughters, but there is no custody order. Here's the thing my ex is a registered sex offender with a crime against a child under 13, has many other criminal offense for which he has been in and out of prison for, a long history of substance abuse, and documented mental illness. He has paid less than $300 in child support in 8 years none in the last 6 years. I would like my kids to know their bio dad but I feel I to be unsafe. Do I have to let him see them and What are my chances of terminating his rights? I don't want to be spiteful I just want to protect my little girls.


I am in a similar situation to most of these, but my question is actually regarding insurance. I have been separated from my husband for two years. He was emotionally and physically abusive. I just had a baby from my boyfriend, almost 3 months ago. I had the baby under my husband's insurance. My husband is telling me that he is going to sue me for insurance fraud and he is constantly harassing me, telling me he's going to take our other children away from me and that I'm a bad mother, bad person, ect. Can he sue me for insurance fraud?

Marty Pollio

These ridiculous laws that exist in some states are antiquated nonsense. They are also a great way for deadbeat dads to get away with it - just keep having affairs with married women, then who cares if they get pregnant. The idea of anyone thinking that a biological father should have no paternal rights is beyond belief to me. Let's turn the situation around - what if the man was married and he had an affair with a single woman. If she got pregnant should she have to give up the baby to the married couple? These laws were written when there was no DNA testing. Nowadays a bio-father should AT LEAST have the legal right for a court to decide what is in the best interest of the child. That decision should be based upon nothing other than the man's ability and desire to be a responsible parent.

Jeanne M Hannah

You need to file a motion to "disestablish parentage" . . . to establish to the court that she is pregnant (upon information and belief) and that you are not the father. You need what is called a "Serafin hearing" to prove that you could not possibly be the father.

If you don't do that, then you will automatically be considered the legal father and you will have no end of trouble -- esp. regarding child support and cost of birth if she's receiving public assistance.

Jason Hume

My wife took off over a year ago and left my 1 yr old son and I. Neither I nor my son has seen her since then as we are living in different states. She's in Ohio and I'm in Michigan. I filed for divorce last week, but just found out today (not from her) that she is 5 months pregnant now. What are my rights? I DO NOT want to be responsible for this child. I do not want my name on the birth certificate or to be responsible for paying child support for this child. What do I need to do?

Jeanne M Hannah

Brandalyn, I can assist you with this legal process. However, you will have to call my office and make an appointment to consult with me. Depending on your location, you may have to consult by telephone.

Brandalyn  Whitfield (married name Williams, which I never used, separated after three months of marriage)

I LIVE IN MICHIGAN!! I have not been able to obtain a birth certificate (and therefore no social security card) for my twins, born June 2009 because I am still leagally married, we separated in December 2006. There was no father listed on the Affidavid of Parentage. Paternity tests conducted by the state have proven that my husband is not the father (as well as who is) and he agress they are not his children. My mother has taken care of the twins since before they were's visits, making sure I was eating the correct foods, etc. Without a social security number she can not claim them as deductions on her taxes. What can I do to help the one person who has always been there for mother?

Jeanne M Hannah

Steve, Michigan law doesn't permit you (or the mother) to establish parentage when this child was conceived and born during a marriage. Therefore, a paternity action would be met with a motion to dismiss -- or with the court taking notice of its own lack of jurisdiction, dismissing on its own.

Since you are forming a good relationship with your child, it may be possible for you to do an "adult adoption" after she turns 18. While that sounds pretty odd, it would be one way for you and your child to formalize your parent-child relationship.

Jeanne M Hannah

Steve, the mother can block a paternity case because when a child is conceived and/or born during a marriage, then the husband is the "legal father" and the biological father has no standing to file a paternity case. If the bio-dad tries to establish parentage, the likely reaction would be a motion to dismiss filed by the mother.

Odd that Mom suddenly wants to know about dad. She cannot get child support retroactive to date of birth . . . only to date of trying to establish parentage.

Your son, if you keep the relationship close may choose after he is 18 to be with you and to have you adopt him. I know it seems strange to adopt your own child, but an adult (such as your son) may consent to this adoption.


Unique situation: Child was born/lives in MI and will be 18 this year. Mother was estranged from her (then) husband and living in another state at time of conception. Mother claimed husband was sterile (eventually turned out to be incompatible reproductive mates) and she wanted a child so they were splitting up. Mother gets pregnant, fakes an abortion, then moves back to MI. Mother gets back with husband and they choose to lie to everyone and say it's their child. Child is born and they divorce within two years. Biological father is not told about existence of child. Ex-husband remains child's father to this day and mother claims she never made him pay child support since it wasn't his child. Sixteen years later biological father discovers mother is asking former employers for info on him and soon finds out about child. Mother tells child about bio-dad and the two meet shortly thereafter. A relationship has been established between child & bio-dad. Bio-dad would like to have child's birth certificate corrected and paternity established. Mother continues to be irresponsible and is a control freak, has even tried to turn child against bio-dad. Bio-dad is convinced mother will do whatever it takes to guilt child into not agreeing to do it once she is an adult. Bio-dad does not want to make this the child's burden once child is an adult. Question is: could bio-dad file paternity suit in this case that would at least get heard by a MI court?


My Husband's ex girlfriend ( and mother of child) recently told his 11 year old daughter that he is not her biological father. The daughter now wants a DNA test done but the mother refuses to take one. The mother teases the daughter with knowing who is her bio dad but wont tell her. We asked the court to establish an order but they refused to, even tho the daughter is asking for one. My husband has NO intention of giving up his lil girl, ( which he has custody of) or loving her less and has told her so, he is just trying to help her figure out who she is? where she comes from etc.. is there a way or a law that can help us with this? Thanks!

Jeanne M Hannah

Mr. Watkins,

Your question raises one of the most important issues faced by fathers who are "legal fathers" but not biological fathers. Your compelling facts are unusual, to say the least. You may rest secure in the knowledge that, (presuming you are a Michigan resident), Michigan law protects your custodial right to this child. You are the child's legal father. Even were your ex-wife able to find the biological father and even were the biological father to file an action to establish parentage, you could file a motion for summary disposition. Michigan law quite clearly does not permit a paternity action where, as here, the child was conceived and born during her marriage to you. Contact me if any trouble arises in the future in this regard.

B Watkins

My ex-wife conceived a child while we were married. It is her claim (then and now) the the child is not mine. I'd had a vasectomy prior to the conception, but it has never been medically verified. The child was born while were were separated and shortly after "John's" birth we reconciled.
About 11 months after he was born, my then wife was taken by the county to be psychologically evaluated and subsequently committed to a mental institution for nearly 4 months. Because of the situation surrounding her committal, I filed for an order of protection which was granted. I filed for divorce shortly after her committal and the divorce was finalized a few months later. I was granted full custody of our three children, including "john". I remarried a short time after the divorce.
It has been nearly 5 years since her committal. The only father John knows is me and the only mother he knows is my current wife. His bio-mom has not seen him since she was taken away by the sheriff when he was 10 months old. Due to her mental condition she has had only 3 supervised visits with the other two children since she was put in the hospital. There is no visitation order in place.
I have no issues with the fact that I may not be his "bio dad". I love him just as much as my "own" sons and can't imagine my life without him. In recent weeks, my ex's mental health has deteriorated and she has begun threatening to take legal action to have another man proven to be John's bio-dad.
Given that she and I are no longer married, could she file paperwork that could force us to have John's paternity determined by the court?
If this were to happen it would devastating to my wife and I, but my main concern is for John. He's a happy healthy 5 year old boy living in a loving stable home- It would kill me to see his little world turned upside down by this.
I know this is long and complicated, but I hope you can offer some advice.

Jeanne M Hannah

Hello Tara,

Here's the answer to your question: The information that you have is correct. Under Michigan law, your husband is presumed to be the biological father of your child. I am happy that he has decided to remain with you and to help raise the child, particularly since your child apparently would not otherwise have a father.

The hospital will automoatically put your husband's name on the birth certificate. This is not fraudulent. This Blog post has much information and there are 43 comments, most of which have answers. Do relax and have a happy marriage and a happy family. Jeanne Hannah

Tara Wilkinson

I have a question for you. My husband and I have been married for 4 years. Due to his impotence issues, we decided on an "open" relationship to help "satisfy" certain needs. I used protection with a man with whom I don't remember his name... Despite protection, I got pregnant. My husband demanded I get an abortion to "clear up the problem," but because I am against abortion I refused and am now almost 8 months pregnant. My husband has decided to stay in the marriage (even though he threatened to leave in the beginning) and help raise the baby "as his."

Since I'm 8 months pregnant, and the baby's due pretty soon, I have some questions about the birth certificate matter. My husband feels it's fraud to put his name on the certificate, since he's not the father. Is it fraud? Should I put unknown for the baby's father? And I've heard that because this baby will be born into our marriage, even though he's not the father, he still has rights and is considered the "legal" father. What are the issues regarding this situation, and how can I obtain more info on this subject? I've tried searching the internet, but haven't found anything really pertaining to my situation.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Suzy, I recommend you wait and see. Certainly your husband should not volunteer parentage. If the mother (or more likely the prosecuting attorney) sues to establish parentage, at the very least your husband should demand a DNA test. Perhaps it is not his child. Moreover, in Michigan, a child can have only one legal father. Therefore, this mother cannot establish paternity in your husband until she is successful in disestablishing paternity in her boyfriend. He could defend on that grounds.


In the last few days my husband and I have found out that he possibly has a 2 year old son living in MI. The mother of the child had one night with my husband around the same time she got pregnant. There was no long term relationship between them and shortly after this my husband and I met and we began dating. We then found out she was pregnant however she claimed (and I think believed at the time) that the baby was her partners and that all was well. The baby was born and her fiance signed the affidavit of parentage, the two of them have raised the baby together the last 2 years. Sadly their relationship has ended and the mother has contacted us to ask for a DNA test. She says that she just wants to establish paternity for peace of mind and that she intends to raise the child alone. I would like to know what rights my husband and I have, this is a big shock and we are unsure what the best way to proceed would be. We live 800 miles away and can hardly afford to pay our bills month to month, we would really appreciate some help in understanding our situation better.


I live in Michigan. My son's father has only seen him about 12 times in his life and my son is four years old. He has recently told me that he would like to sign off his rights to our son (mostly to lift the financial burden of paying the child support). I am not married and was never married, and he is not on my son's birth certificate. Is there a way that he may sign off his rights to our son and stop the child support? I am willing to cut all ties with him as he does not want to be a part of our child's life.

Thank you if you can help!


Jeanne M. Hannah


You have raised some important questions. I can give you answers if you will call for a consultation. But the scope of your inquiry is too broad to be answered here. You can call me at 1-231-275-5600 or email me at [email protected]


I am a married woman who has been separated from my husband for a year and a half. I start seeing someone else and did get pregnant. I found out My husband and I have since reconciled. I want to do what is best for this child. The biological dad wants to part of the child's life and I want him to be part as well. Is there anything we can do? Could my husband give up his rights or is that only done in a divorce? Are we stuck. All three of us want to do what is right for this child. My husband and I have 4 children together already. I am also scared if the biological dad does get rights that if something happens to me that the new child would be separated from the other four. I am not sure what to do but want to do right by this child. Thank you


The law varies from state to state.
A friend of a friend was in a similar situation years ago. She got pregnant at a young age by her old boyfriend. While still pregnant she realized he was a loser and left him. He never wanted anything to do with her or the child. Soon after the child was born she met her husband who raised her child as his own. The child grew up thinking his step-father was his father. When he was about 9 years old the biological father came back. He too had spent time in prison for assaults and was now married and wanted to have a "family". He hired a lawyer to get visitation rights to his son. The poor child had to be told that his father wasn't his father. The idiot judge was upset at the mother for "denying" the father his parental rights. He forced her to send her child to this "stranger's" house for unsupervised weekend stays. Whenever she tried to not send her son (he was afraid of staying there) she was threatened with jail. This went on for months when the man finally robbed and assaulted an old woman who almost died from her injuries. He went back to jail. The judge forced the mother to take her son monthly for visits. Eventually her lawyer was able to get the visitation thrown out.
In my view paternity IS NOT biological link only.

Jeanne M. Hannah


You are not committing fraud by allowing your name to be on the birth certificate. Michigan law provides that a husband is the legal father of a child born during the marriage. Thus, the hospital would list your name without your permission.

Under Michigan law, a man who impregnates another man's wife has no parental rights unless the husband and wife obtain a court order stating that the husband is not the father of the child. This usually, but not always, occurs during a divorce. Some men father the child for so many years that they are then considered an "equitable parent." An equitable parent has the same parental rights as a legal parent.

If a biological father challenged paternity, he could not prevail. It this occurs with you and your wife, call me and I'll help you with this issue. Jeanne M Hannah


From post by Mike on October 30th, 2008 at 10:47

What if Mike had had a Vasectomy ? Are they committing fraud then?

Jeanne M Hannah


In Michigan, a child born during the marriage is presumed to be a child of the marriage. The biological father of your wife's child will have no legal rights to parenting time with the child. You are not committing fraud by allowing your name to be listed as the father on the birth certificate. Hospitals automatically put the name of a woman's husband on the birth certificate.


I have a question. My wife and I split up this summer and she is now pregnet. My wife and I have since decided to get back together. Do I have to adopt the baby or am I going to be listed as the father on the birth certificate? What are the rights of the biological father? Am I commiting fraud since I know that I am not the biological father? I live in Michigan.

Jeanne M Hannah


There are many facts missing from your question that make it difficult to answer -- because I need to know if Michigan law will apply. (a) Do you now reside in Michigan? (b) Is your "current boyfriend" the biological father of your son? (c) How much time has elapsed -- in other words, how old is your son?

Even so, it is likely possible to get the birth certificate changed. How much it would cost is a function of whether or not your husband would cooperate. In my experience, rather than to be held liable for child support, many men will sign the necessary documentation to establish non-paternity. This can be done in conjunction with the divorce.

Please contact me at 231-275-5600 for more information or for an appointment. Jeanne M. Hannah


I was dating a man when my ex boyfriend forced me to marry him using the treat of violence. Aftwards, I tried to get an annullment but he refused to agree. I found out I was pregnant two weeks later and the father is my current boyfriend. I gave birth in Ohio so I had to put my husband's name on the birth certificate. Me and my boyfriend have raised our son as his mother and father since day one. I am finally able to file for divorce and want to exclude my husband as the father. He has never seen my son and has nothing to do with us despite being considered his legal father. Is there any hope of getting his birth certificate changed?


In the state of Michigan with alimony payments can you stipulate that the receiving spouse not be allowed to have a boyfriend and if she does that the payments will be stopped? if both parties agree to it and the divorce in non modifiable. Also what constitutes a boyfriend?

Jeanne M Hannah


Your case is not at all uncommon these days. The lesson to be learned is that if you are involved with a married woman and she becomes pregnant, in the current state of the law in Michigan, you will not be able to protect your parental rights if she returns to her husband.

In some states the law is different. Even then, unless the putative father forms a substantial parent-child relationship, that father will not be able to protect his parental rights.

Jeanne M. Hannah

greg Sutliff

I am a father that got a married woman pregnant but she was living with me at the time she told me she was going through a divorce, after she was 4 months along she left me went back to her husband and because of that Michigan law I can not get a dna test done and My other 5 year old and I will never see my son someone needs to help all of us fathers out this is so wrong!

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