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Michigan father taking fight for son to Court of Appeals

Basic family law teaches us that the question of paternity most often comes about when two parents are not married. Unmarried fathers may need to take a paternity test to either prove, or disprove, that they are the father of the child. Things get even more complicated if the child is born as the result of an affair with a married woman.

This is what happened to one Michigan man and he is now fighting to be involved in his child’s life. The man previously lost his parental rights because of the circumstances surrounding the child’s birth, namely that the mother was married to another man.

A state law passed last summer is to blame. The law, titled the Revocation of Paternity Act, details what happens when a child is born during an affair with a married woman and the man knows the woman is married. Under the new legislation, the mom gets to make the decision on whether the biological father can be a part of the child’s life. Here, the mother denied the father the ability to be involved and a lower court sided with the mother.

Michigan’s Court of Appeals will now hear the case but an Appeals Court judge stated that the law was very clear and when the relationship is with a married woman there are only a few exceptions as to how a man can bring a paternity dispute.

This may not matter for the fighting dad because he is going to the core of the law and its constitutionality. Lawyers for the man say that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause.

The father doesn’t seem to show any signs of giving up on his son. Other parents in this situation may also want to consider legal action to fight for child custody or parenting rights. There is the flip-side too, where a man may need to fight against parentage and prove that he is not the biological father of a child. In either event, it may be helpful to consult with a Michigan paternity dispute attorney and weigh all the options.

Source:, “Dad files appeal over law allowing mom to decide who raises child born out of extramarital affair,” Scott Lewis, June 13, 2013