The care and custody of children is an important part of what courts assess and determine when they are confronted with family law matters. In Michigan, custody and visitation issues may arise during divorces or when unmarried parents choose to live separately. When these significant issues are under consideration, the best interests of the children should prevail.

In different families and for different children, varying child custody arrangements may be appropriate. Fathers should not assume that their children will automatically be ordered to live with their mothers as fathers have rights to be parents to their kids. This post will examine some of the steps that fathers may have to take to protect their parental rights, but readers are reminded that this post does not provide any legal advice.

Paternity: An important piece of protecting a father’s rights

Children have two biological parents, and when they are born their biological mothers’ identities are often clear. These are the women to carry and deliver children and who are present at their births. Children’s fathers, though, may not be as easily identified.

In Michigan, a child born to a married couple is presumed to be the child of the married partners. When a child is born to unmarried parents, a presumptive father must be established through inclusion on the child’s birth certificate, court order, or paternity testing. Paternity testing links the genetic make-up of a child to that of their biological father.

Before a father can claim custody or visitation rights with their child they must be recognized as the legal father of the youth. A family law attorney can help a father establish this important information so that they may exert their parental rights.

Sorting out paternity and parenting complications

Paternity and parentage are complex topics that can cause disagreements and problems in families. Romantic relationships outside of marriage that result in pregnancies can lead to difficult family law disputes over the identities of the children’s fathers. Fathers do not have to stand aside as their children’s mothers control the parenting of their kids. Attorneys who work in the family law field can guide dedicated fathers through the many processes to securing and protecting their parental rights.