What is the Revocation of Paternity Act?

The Revocation of Paternity Act is an attempt by the Michigan legislature to allow biological fathers the opportunity to assert their paternity in a situation in which they are not actually married to the children’s mother.

To take an example, let’s say that a woman has been having an affair with someone outside marriage and becomes pregnant. She may, or may not know, who the father is likely to be, depending on who she has been having sex with before she got pregnant. The husband and the other man she has been having a relationship with may or may not know who the biological father is. In the past, before the Revocation of Paternity Act became law, the unmarried boyfriend would have had no rights to claim paternity, even if he knew and the woman knew that he was in fact the biological father. This situation was upheld by the 1956 Paternity Act.

The reason for this now outdated legal situation was to uphold the ‘sanctity of marriage,’ rather than consider the potential emotional effect on the real father. It was considered more important to ensure that the marriage continued to exist, even if the husband was told that he was not the father. Of course, until DNA analysis had become the much more reliable tool that it is today, there was often no real way of determining who in fact might have been the father if a woman had been having sex with more than her husband.

These days, the status of marriage and the attitude of society to marriage and alternative relationships has changed and it has also become much easier to determine paternity if it is a matter of conjecture.

How a Revocation of Paternity works

If you believe that you are the biological father of one or more children, but are not married to the mother, you may be able to apply for a determination of paternity under the Revocation of Paternity Act. However, your ability to do this is not guaranteed or even particularly easy. The fact that the mother of your presumed child(ren) is actually married to someone else is still an important fact under Michigan law. Your right to determine paternity and acquire paternity rights, such as visitation and custody, are not automatic. In fact, there are only two situations in which you may be able to seek a determination of paternity. These are if the child(ren) was conceived before the mother was married or if you were not aware that the mother was married when the child was conceived.

If either of these situations are the case, you are advised to seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney before applying for determination of paternity. Even if one of the situations stated above are provable, a family court may still decide not to allow a determination of paternity because of the effect that this might have on the child(ren).

In all decisions about the welfare of children when there is a dispute about relationships with them the court will make a decision in their best interests, even if this appears to be not in your best interests!

Revocation of Paternity if the non biological father is not married to the child’s mother

Another quite common situation arises when a couple are not married but in a defacto relationship or civil union. If another man believes that a child is his own because of a previous relationship, then the Revocation of Paternity Act should allow him to do so as long as the couple in the established relationship has not signed an ‘Affidavit of Parentage.’ The affidavit, if signed, is a legal affirmation of the status of the two people to be joint parents. The affidavit can be revoked by one or other of the two people in the relationship under certain circumstances. For example, if the mother was under the mistaken impression that the partner she signed the affidavit with was the biological father, she is able to seek to revoke the affidavit within 3 years of the child’s birth or within a year of signing the affidavit.

As establishing paternity if you are not married to the assumed mother is a complicated process, you are advised to seek legal guidance and help from a sympathetic and knowledgeable family law attorney at the Abood Law Firm. Ring 248.549.0000 if you live in Birmingham or 517.332.5900 in East Lansing today

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