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Change in Michigan paternity law gives father a second chance

When parents are not married, there is no assumption of parentage, and it may become necessary to determine the paternity of a child. Under a previous Michigan law, the husband was presumed to be the biological parent of children born during marriage. But this law no longer stands. Michigan's governor recently signed a new law that allows biological fathers the ability to pursue their rights as a parent.

Because of the new law, one father will appear in front of a county judge to fight for his parental rights to his daughter. The dad is in the middle of a child custody dispute to get his daughter back. As the story goes, the dad and the girl's mother were dating in 2006 when she got pregnant. At the hospital, the man was not allowed to sign his daughter's birth certificate because the mother was still married, unbeknownst to him.

For over two more years, the three lived together, and the man helped raised his daughter. The couple split when the mother went back to her husband. The husband then pleaded to a judge that he should raise the little girl. The judge complied with the request because of the old Michigan law that presumed the husband to be the father.

The young girl is now six-years-old, and her biological father has not seen her since 2008. The outcome of the child custody petition is uncertain, but the new law at least provides the father a chance to plead his case in court and be recognized as the girl's parent.

In addition to gaining custody of his daughter, the dad is fighting to protect his girl from her mother's husband. The husband is currently serving time in prison for drug trafficking in the presence of the young girl.

Source: WNEM TV 5, "Father fights to change paternity rights in Michigan, has court hearing next Friday," Andrew Keller, Oct. 10, 2012

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