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Verifying paternity

For unmarried couples in Michigan, determining the paternity of a child is a necessary task and can be useful if the couple separates. Unlike married couples, there is no assumption as to who is the father of a child. A paternity test is needed for situations such as a father filing for child custody.

There are other circumstances in which paternity can be assumed. The presumption of paternity is present if the parents get married after the conception, but before the birth of the child. A legitimation form can be completed if the parents get married after the birth of the child and will provide the same privileges as if the parents were married when the child was born.

Paternity can be voluntarily verified even if the parents fail to marry one another but are sure of the father's identity. This can be completed immediately after the birth of the child in the hospital, allowing the father's name to be placed on the child's birth certificate. A legal document, such as a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, would have to be signed and then filed with the court or a state agency.

Sometimes it may be necessary to establish paternity involuntarily. This would involve using legal action to compel a man to submit to a DNA test. Results can be ready within a month and will verify whether or not the test subject is the biological father with 99 percent accuracy. If paternity is established, the father would in most cases be required to pay child support.

A child's paternity is assumed when marriage is involved. If paternity has to be verified for custody disputes during a divorce, a child custody lawyer should be contacted.

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