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What are my rights as an unmarried father?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2020 | child custody, family law |

There is no doubt that an unmarried mother in Michigan has full legal custody of her child. When a child is born within a marriage, again, there is no question of parental rights: the mother’s spouse has automatic equal custody. For unmarried fathers, however, the situation is not so clear-cut. 

If you are an unmarried father, you must establish paternity before the courts will grant you your rights. To gain the right to custody or visitation, you must file with the courts before the law considers you the child’s father. The experienced team at Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC, has helped many fathers claim their legal right to see their children. 

How do I establish paternity? 

Establishing paternity in the state of Michigan can be a simple as filing an Affidavit of Parentage. If you are present when the child is born, you have the opportunity to file then. If you were not there, you can still claim parentage later. After leaving the hospital, however, you must also complete an application to add your name to your child’s birth certificate. 

If the mother of your child is now married, her spouse legally has custody rights. Before you seek paternity, you must also file a petition to revoke the spouse’s assumed rights. 

Why should I establish paternity? 

Establishing paternity can open up a world of opportunity for you and your child. You both have a right to a relationship. On a more practical note, your child will have access to your medical history and any potential financial benefits. 

Visit our paternity page to learn more about claiming your parental rights.