How is legal paternity established?

Paternity is established in the following ways:

  • Married Parents: If the mother is married when the baby is born or when the mother became pregnant, her husband is automatically considered by law to be the father, unless a court says otherwise. If the mother has been divorced or widowed for less than ten months, her husband at the time of conception is considered by law to be the father.
  • Unmarried Parents: Parents who are not married to each other when the child was conceived or born must do something, must take action, to establish paternity. Paternity can be established by both parents signing a voluntary Affidavit of Parentage (PDF) that is filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health's Office of the State Registrar, or a judge can declare that a man is the legal father after a hearing or default.

Note: A child can have only one legal father. If the mother is married at the time of conception or birth but her husband is not the biological father of the child, a voluntary Affidavit of Parentage is not allowed to make the non-husband the child's legal father unless a court has already determined in a court order that the husband is not the biological father.

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1. What is the Prosecutor's role in establishing paternity in Michigan?
2. Who do I contact at the Eaton County Prosecutor's office?
3. What is paternity?
4. Why is it important to establish paternity?
5. How is legal paternity established?
6. How do I start a paternity case?
7. What happens with the absent parent?
8. How can the father voluntarily acknowledge paternity?
9. Can the Affidavit of Parentage be filed by mail?
10. Is there a fee for filing the Affidavit of Parentage?
11. What if the father refuses to acknowledge paternity?
12. Can a legal father revoke paternity?
13. What if the mother is not sure who her child's father is?
14. When is a DNA test necessary? How is a paternity DNA test done?
15. What does paternity blood testing show?
16. Who pays for the DNA tests?
17. Can the parents do private DNA testing?
18. What happens if the mother or father is not 18?
19. How long after the child is born can paternity be established?
20. When can the father's name be put on the birth certificate?
21. If the parents decide to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, what other steps must be taken?
22. What web sites have Michigan paternity-related information?