When there is a question as to a child’s paternity in Michigan, it can be a worrisome time for both parents. Issues related to fathers’ rights, paternity actions, legal rights and other issues can muddy the waters and make a difficult situation worse. There are certain terms that might not be completely clear to the parents as the seek to establish paternity. One is knowing what an affidavit is, what happens when it is signed, and how it can affect paternity.
Paternity can be established voluntarily when by signing an affidavit. This is done when the mother is not married. There is a form that states the man is the child’s biological father and can be signed regardless of his marital situation. When the parents sign it, it will also be signed by a notary public or a qualified witness. Those who sign will then be the child’s legal parents and it will not be necessary to go to court or take any other steps to establish paternity.
Signing the affidavit should not be taken lightly. Once it is signed, it is an agreement that the mother will be granted custody unless there is a separate agreement; the parents can seek child custody and parenting time; the parents will be informed if a parent wants to put the child up for adoption; child support must be paid; and the right to have a DNA paternity test, a court-appointed lawyer to represent a parent in a paternity case, and a trial to find out who the biological father is are all surrendered.
The affidavit can be signed at the hospital after the child’s birth or it can be signed at a time and location of the parents’ choosing. Proper identification must be provided to sign it. Should the affidavit be signed at the hospital, the parents will be on the birth certificate; the staff can serve as a witness; and it does not require a fee. If it is signed elsewhere, the parents must find a credentialed witness; changing the birth certificate will require the parents to request it be done; and there is a fee to make that change.
Paternity is a complex matter that can be emotional and difficult to deal with. When a child is born out of wedlock or there is a question as to the identity of the father, it is critical to establish paternity for a variety of reasons. Signing an affidavit is one way to do it. There are others. Having help with paternity and fathers’ rights requires legal help and a law firm that specializes in Michigan family law should be contacted to discuss the case.