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Establishing legal paternity

According to a study conducted by a researcher from the University of Oklahoma, men in Michigan and the rest of the United States tend to more readily acknowledge their legal paternity of a child born out of wedlock if the mother is more healthy, wealthy and educated. The men are also slightly more eager to do so if the baby is a boy.

The establishment of legal paternity at the baby's birth indicates how dedicated a man may be in the support and development of a child. The birth certificate of a baby whose mother is married typically has the name of the husband as the father. However, 40 percent of children born in the country have unmarried mothers. To establish legal paternity in these cases, the man is officially named as the father if he signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This solidifies his fathers' rights and aids the state in obtaining child support. Still, there are many cases for which legal paternity is not established.

For the study, the data for 5.4 million births recorded in the National Center for Health Statistics was examined. The researcher found that legal paternity is established in the hospital for nearly 70 percent of children born out of wedlock. He also discovered that paternity establishment had a greater chance of occurring when the women were adults and had either a college education, at the minimum, or private health insurance. The women's lack of sexually transmitted diseases or health issues was also a factor in a father admitting his legal paternity.

Oakland County paternity lawyers may assist men with protecting their fathers' rights if a mother refuses access to the child. The lawyers may advise of the appropriate manner of establishing paternity and may engage in litigation seeking appropriate visitation schedules.

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