WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE
- The Acknowledgment of Parentage Act (APA), MCL 722.1001 et seq.: Unmarried parents may establish paternity under the APA by signing an affidavit of parentage, which gives a child born out of wedlock or born or conceived during a marriage but not the issue of that marriage (as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction) the same status as a legitimate child.
WHAT IS AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE?
An Affidavit of Parentage is a document used to establish paternity is cases where the parents are not married to each other at the time their child is born.
WHO SIGNS AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE?
An Affidavit of Parentage is signed by both parents and acknowledges that they are the biological parents of the child.
WHAT DOES AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE DO?
An Affidavit of Parentage acknowledges who the parents are. By acknowledging parentage of a child, it allows the judge to make a determination regarding custody, parenting time, and child support.
WHEN IS AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE SIGNED?
An Affidavit of Parentage is typically signed at the hospital after the birth of the child. However, if the biological father was not present at the birth, you and the other parent can voluntarily execute an Affidavit of Parentage and file it with the State of Michigan at any time.
WHAT IF ONE PARENT WILL NOT AGREE TO SIGN THE AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE?
If one parent is not willing to voluntarily sign the Affidavit of Parentage, either parent may establish paternity by filing a motion with the court and requesting a court order establishing paternity.
CAN I BE GRANTED CUSTODY OR PARENTING TIME WITHOUT AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE?
If you are the father of the child, a judge will not grant you custody or parenting time without paternity being established. This means that you will be obligated to produce to the judge a copy of the Affidavit of Parentage before the judge can grant you custody or parenting time. If you do not have an Affidavit of Parentage, you will need to file a motion with the court to establish that you are the father before the judge can assist you with custody and parenting time.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SIGN AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE?
As stated above, an Affidavit of Parentage voluntarily acknowledges who the parents are. By voluntarily signing the Affidavit of Parentage, you are waiving your right to a DNA test to determine if you are the biological father. And, by signing the Affidavit of Parentage you are taking on legal responsibilities to that child, and will be obligated to pay child support.
WHAT IF I AM UNSURE THAT I AM THE FATHER? SHOULD I SIGN AN AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAGE?
If you have doubts that you may not be the father, you should request a DNA test to be performed. As stated above, there are serious legal consequences to signing the Affidavit of Parentage before requesting a DNA test.
GET HELP ESTABLISHING RIGHTS TO YOUR CHILD. GRAND RAPIDS FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
Paternity in Michigan is a complicated procedure with long-term implications. It’s important to understand your rights and duties so that you will be in the best position to move forward during and after you establish your parentage. Advice from an experienced family law attorney can make all the difference in your outcome.
At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we work to ensure that our clients have the information and guidance they need to make the right decisions for their family and their future. Contact Schmitt Law, PLLC today by completing our online contact form, or calling us at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation.