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RESOURCES - SINGLE AND DIVORCING PARENTS

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Jeanne M Hannah

Hello Jaime,

Most states will not allow a biological father to terminate his parental rights unless there is a step-father waiting in the wings to adopt (and support) the child. Additionally, most states will not allow a mother to bargain away the child's right to support by the father.

There are many possible problems here. (1) What will you do if the father decides to assert his parental rights? (2) The hospital will ask you for the identity of the father per policy after welfare reform in the 1990s. What will you say?

I've written an article about two mothers who used donated sperm from a known donor and the support and parentage issues that arose. You may read "One, two three GO!" at http://jeannehannah.typepad.com/blog_jeanne_hannah_traver/2007/07/one-two-three-g.html

A law review article "Caveat Vendor: Potential Progeny, Paternity, and Product Liability Online" explains the legal difficulties. You may read that online here. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3736/is_200701/ai_n21186045

Additionally, do explore Single Mothers by Choice at this URL:

http://www.singlemothersbychoice.com/

jaime willsen

I am a single woman planning to get pregnnat by a known donor. He states he wants nothing to do with the child and would like to give up his rights immediately upon the birth. Can this be done? Does he even need to go on the birth certificate?

Jeanne M Hannah

Dana,

Certainly what you propose can be done. However, it is complicated enough that you would have to schedule a consultation with me in order to obtain guidance.

Jeanne Hannah

Dana Dandrow

I am a married woman that concieved a baby with another man. I was trying to leave my husband because of a very lengthy battle of control. This other man that re-entered my life had shown me that I could have a life of love instead of a life of unhappiness. We moved in together and I got pregnant. I was still married to the other man. He admits that he is not the father and says the other man is. When the baby was born we were told that my husbands name had to go on the birth certificate. Later I found out that I was lied to. In fact I could have had the DNA testing right there in the hospital after the baby was born and they didn't even tell me about it. Now my husband's name is on the birth certificate and we are getting a divorce. I want my baby's REAL father on the birth certificate. He is a great dad, he supports me and the baby to the best of his abilities and he is wonderful to the rest of my children. What should I do? How do I go about doing it?

Jeanne Hannah

Donna,the answer to this question is: it depends. If he intends to stay married to his wife, then he will be the legal father of a child born to his wife during the marriage. He might get his wife to agree to a DNA test. If not, then he might use one of the do-it-yourself DNA kits/tests available.

if the do-it-yourself test shows that child is the husband's then that will put his mind at ease. If it shows that he is not the biological father, he'll have to make a choice about staying or leaving. In a divorce, he can deny parentage and get a legal DNA test to prove non-paternity.

Donna

I just have a question about the Michigan law. If a man is married and his wife gets pregnat and he doesn't think its his can he legally ask for a paternity test? Just wondering b/c someone told me he couldn't. Thanks

Tray

On July 3, 2007, I found out that I have a 13 year old daughter. Her mother never told me, worse yet, she moved to Indiana with her new husband and had my daughter adopted there. (Husband happens to be an ex-felon, been bankrupt and takes meds for psycological disorders.) From the time she finally told me, she also has told me that she has had a terrible marriage. I was able to have my daughter, her mother and me have our DNA tested so no one could question the fact. After the positive results, adoptive father moved out of the house and they are going to divorce. I understand that a biological father can establish his paternity if he fathers a child to a married couple and they later divorce. What is the situation when a step-father become an adoptive father in another state and they later divorce. My daughter was conceived and born in Michigan. Today, she and I live in Michigan. Had I been told, I never would have given her up. Her mother did not tell me because she did not want to disrupt my career. I was living in a western state at the time and she did not want our daughter to travel for visitation. With adoptive father not living with them anymore, my daughter and I are establishing a parent/child relationship. After the positive DNA results and him moving out of the house, my attorney said to hold off on doing anything until the divorce is decreed. He said to use this time to establish the relationship with your daughter. Once the divorce is decreed, can I claim my paternity under current law? I know that I will be able to have a relationship with my daughter because her mother has promised to facilitate it. What I really want is my name put on her birth certificate, so if something happens to her mother, adoptive father can't take her to his home in Indiana. Can that happen (without his consent) after they divorce?

Jeanne M Hannah

Dear Mr. Harold:

Thank you for writing. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Sadly, because of the current state of the law in Michigan, not every child will have the opportunity to know his or her biological father. In this day and age, when DNA testing is so readily available, it's truly a shame that some dads and some children are deprived of a parent-child relationship.

Jeanne M. Hannah

J. Harold

Have we gotten to the point that we are so intellectual/formal about every issue that we have turned into idiots? Sometimes I wonder. How is it that a child does not have the inherent right to know his/her biological father, if that father is "fit" and "willing"?---Particularly now that we have the means to absolutely determine a biological fact? How stupid can we be? It does not have to lead to a "substitute" situation. I am continually amazed at how smart my little girl is. I think all children are smarter/more aware than we want to acknowledge. I have real doubts that if a child develops with one "father", having another and knowing his/her real father is such a disruption that one father has to be substituted for another.

Jeanne M Hannah

Rae:

Thank you for writing. This is a wonderful result and will, hopefully, provide others with a similar problem with a roadmap for a solution that is not expensive and/or costly. You're a star! Jeanne

Rae Fruth

My son is the biological father of a little boy born in January 2006. At the time of his birth, the mother had a new boyfriend, but she knew that there was a good possibility that my son was the father. She agreed to a home DNA test when the baby was 3 wks old. Result was that my son was bio dad. Two months later, mother was upset with my son, so she and her boyfriend signed and filed and affidavit of parentage making the boyfriend the legal father. However, my son continued to see the child, support him financially, and developed a bond with him.

Fast forward to March 2007. The mother and her boyfriend (both teenagers), are separated. The boyfriend (legal dad) provided no support, and abandoned any relationship he had with the child. At this time all three parties, (mom, bio dad, and legal dad) all agreed that they wanted to revoke the affidavit of parentage that had been filed in 2006; and make the bio dad the legal dad as well, and add the correct father to the birth certificate. After contacting several attornies (including the prosecuting attorney who had filed a case against the legal dad to pay support), we were told that no one knew exactly how to go about having the affidavit revoked. Two attorneys refused to take our case, because my son was "only" the biological father, and had no rights under the paternity act.

I was successful in having the original AOP revoked, had the new AOP signed, and sent in a form to add the correct father on the birth record, thereby changing the baby's name to his bio dad's name.

This is what I did. I wrote a stipulation and order to revoke the affidavit of parentage signed by all three parties, and filed it through the county clerk (jackson county) within the child support case that had been filed by the PA against the "legal" dad. A copy of a legally binding DNA test was attached. The judge signed the order. We sent a copy of the order to revoke the original AOP, a new, correct, AOP along with the form to add a father to the BC to the vital records changes division in Lansing. We hope to receive my grandson's new birth certificate with his new name, and correct daddy listed in a couple weeks.

I spoke with Senator Mike Simpson this evening, and he agreed to take my information to research this matter, and see if the law can be amended to give biological fathers an avenue to obtain legal rights even if an AOP is signed by a non bio father. I will give him the link to your website.

While we were success ful in this situation, I feel that the law as it exists is WRONG. A biological father can forever lose any contact with his child if an AOP is signed by someone else. The law MUST be changed. I don't want any other family to go through what we have gone through trying to make my grandson a "legal" member of our family.

Sad Sister

my sister inlaw got pregnant when my brother and her were seperated for 4 weeks. they got back together and he has raised the baby as his for 9 years. His name is on the birth certificate and everything. The child has no ideal that my brother is not his father. The problem is now she wants a divorce and does not want him to have any visitation with his son. He is in complete shock. I wonder does he have any rights.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Daniel,

Your case is one of a long series of cases all having the same tragic result. This is because Michigan's laws do not permit a child to have two fathers. A mother can defeat the rights of a biological father by hiding behind the law. Whenever a child is born or conceived while the mother is married to another man, she can use this defense against the biological father. Because it is not uncommon these days for married women to stray, many biological fathers are getting trapped by this law.

Michigan needs to change the law. The best solution would be for the Michigan legislature to adopt the Uniform Parentage Act, which does give standing to dads whose fact patterns match yours.

Please stay in touch and email me with your contact information (Name, address, phone, email). If I can work with lawmakers to further this purpose, I may be calling upon you to testify in a legislative hearing.

By the way, you were the second biological father who contacted me on May 9th with a similar story.

Jeanne Hannah

Daniel wharton

I was in a relationship with a married woman who was going to leave her husband for me and then backed out. After this point we stayed friends. A month later she contacted me and said she was pregnant. She told me that it was her husband’s child and that she was sorry for all the pain she put me through. I stayed friends with her. We had talked and said that she and her husband would be tested to make sure it was their child when he was born. Two days after the birth she contacted me from the hospital saying that all was well. She said He was their child. She had told the nurse that she wanted to be tested because of the situation that she had been in. About four months later she started calling me and saying that the child looked like me. After two months of her calls consisting of conversations about her thinking he was my child, I asked her if it would make her feel at peace if we just went and got a DNA test. So she, the baby and I went and had a DNA test done. She asked me what we would do if he was mine. I told her if she had the testing done like she said, that he was not going to be mine. We discussed that if in some chance that he was, I thought we might try to have a relationship so I could be in my child's life as much as possible. Two weeks later the results come he is in fact my child 99.88% positive. I started seeing him on a regular basis. My whole family meets my son including my (mom, dad, step dad, brother etc) this goes on for about four months without her husband knowing that I'm seeing him. I get the feeling that the mother just wants to be in a relationship with me and she really doesn't care if I'm in my son’s life. I ask her if she wants me in his life no matter our situation. She tells me yes. Two days later I try to call her. The phone number has been changed. I contact her at work (I work with her). She tells me not to come see her or try to contact her at all. I hired a lawyer the day that she cut off contact. I got my day in court early 2007. I felt very prepared with my DNA test, many pictures, phone records, and proof of our relationship. I asked to pay child support, visitation every other weekend, one week day a week, Father’s day and three weeks in the summer. This case was held at the Washtenaw County Court in Ann Arbor, Mi. The case took about five minuets. The Judge didn't even ask to see the DNA test, any photos or look at any proof of my relationship. The Judge did not ask me to take the stand or my brother who came with me. Long story short you have no rights in Michigan if you are the biological father and you have had a relationship with your child. WOW what a shock. I just don't feel its right for my own son a product of me to not know his own biological father not only that I can’t even begin to tell you how this has affected me. I thought this might educate people in Michigan by telling all of you that might read this what happend to me. The law in Michigan in my mind is very wrong and I will work to try to educate people and get this law changed.

Daniel Wharton
dcisforme@yahoo.com

Jeanne M. Hannah

Michelle,

As I explained in this Blog article, if the mother is married at the time of a child's conception and/or at the time of the child' birth, in Michigan, the biological father has no legal rights to establish his parentage, to ask for custody, or to ask for parenting time.

Although this is a harsh result, the only remedy will come from the State Legislature. I advocate strongly for enactment of the Uniform Parentage Act, which, under certain circumstances would provide fathers like your brother the opportunity to continue an established relationship with a biological child born to a mother who was married to another man at conception and/or birth.

To date, there appears to be little interest in this modification of existing Michigan law. Until reform occurs, however, there will be more and more fathers and children caught in the situation in which your brother finds himself.

Michelle

I'm looking for a resource in the Detroit, Michigan area that can help with a paternity issue. My brother found out recently he has a daughter that he didn't know about (mother said she had a miscarriage). As soon as he found out he became involved in the childs life. Today the mother told him she was married when she gave birth and is still married now. At the time they conceived the baby, she told my brother she was going thru a divorce. Her husband is listed on the birth certificate, but she has told my brother the baby is his (and she looks just like him). Does he have any rights? Where do we go from here? He wants to be involved in his daughter's life. I know a paternity test is probably first, but then what? Any help would be appreciated!!

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