On June 12, 2012, Gov. Snyder signed into law the “Revocation of Paternity Act,” which changed years of firmly established law concerning a putative father’s ability to seek custody rights to children born or conceived during a marriage. Under the old paternity act (established in 1956), husbands were given legal rights to the children of their wives, regardless of whether or not the husband was the biological father. Unless a court had determined that a child was not the child of a marriage, a biological father had absolutely no right to petition the court to seek custody or visitation with his child. The new legislation permits a biological father to establish paternity of a child born or conceived during a marriage provided certain specific circumstances exist. A motion under each section must be filed within 3 years after the child’s birth or within 1 year after the date of the order of filiation, whichever is later. Upon request, a court may extend the time for filing an action or motion under this act.
The new legislation also allows a presumed father (usually the husband) to disestablish paternity if he fits within the statutory scheme. Courts are allowed to deny entry of an order determining paternity if it finds it is not in the child’s best interests to do so.