Co-creating the life of a child can bring inexpressible joy. With that joy, however, comes a long list of responsibilities and obligations. These parental responsibilities are easier to satisfy when committed parents work together. While the identity of the birth mother is always unquestionable, establishing paternity, or the identity of the birth father, isn’t always so easy.
In the state of Michigan, you can determine paternity in a few ways. When a child is born, if the mother is married to a man, the hospital and state assume that her husband is the biological father. If the parents are not married, however, then different regulations come into play.
Unmarried parents, along with a witness, can choose to sign an affidavit at the hospital or after the birth declaring legal paternity. If this voluntary signing is not possible, you may need to establish biological paternity through a DNA test and possibly a family court hearing.
Benefits of paternity
Establishing paternity offers important rights and benefits to the child of unmarried parents that are sometimes taken for granted in marriage partnerships. Some of these benefits might include:
- Connection to family and lineage
- Access to information about family medical history
- Financial and physical support from both parents
- Beneficiary status for life insurance, pensions, social security and veterans’ benefits
- Access to health insurance
Regardless of whether your child’s birth was planned, they deserve all the benefits conferred on children of married parents. Establishing legal paternity can offer a more financially, emotionally and physically stable upbringing and provide the support of healthy, cooperative co-parenting.