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Putative Fathers May Gain Rights

Michigan's case law has consistently held that a putatively father does not have standing to bring a paternity action when a child is born to a woman who is married to another man from conception to the birth of the child. (Barnes v. Jeudevine 475 Mich. 69 (2006); Girard v. Wagenmaker, 437 Mich. 231(1991); Serafin v. Serafin, 401 Mich. 629(1977)). But on February 5, 2009, Senator Michelle A. McManus introduced legislation to deal with this issue (SB 0197). The bill would amend the Paternity Act (MCL 722.711) to allow a putative father to bring a paternity action under certain circumstances. The bill does the following:

  • Provides that a putative father could not bring a paternity action if the mother were married at any time between conception and the child's birth, unless the action was brought within one year after the birth, a biological relationship between the child and the putative father was acknowledged or the mother was legally separated or unmarried around the time of conception, and other conditions were met.
  • Revises the definition of "child born out of wedlock". -- Require a putative father to pay for the genetic testing expenses in an action he filed.
  • Specifies that a judgment in an action brought by a putative father would not relieve a presumed father, or an individual named as a father on a birth certificate, from a child support obligation incurred before the judgment.
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