If you were never married to your child’s mother and you are not on his or her birth certificate, you may not have any rights as the father. According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, even though you share a biological bond, the law does not consider you to be the father until you have established paternity. You will have to do this through genetic testing, or with an affidavit that is signed by both you and the mother, as well as by a witness. By creating this legal relationship with your child, you are providing a number of important benefits.
Developing a close relationship and father-child bond with you will provide your child with mental, emotional, psychological and social developmental advantages. Along with that connection to you, your child is also gaining a relation to everyone in your family. For many children, this provides a stronger awareness of who they are, and a sense of belonging. Knowing the medical history passed through your side of the family is also important.
Your child will benefit from your financial support, as well. In addition to child support, you may provide benefits such as health insurance. Your child may be named as beneficiary on your life insurance, and will be considered your heir after your death. If you qualify for veterans’ benefits or Social Security Disability benefits, your child may also receive income from these sources. This information about paternity and fathers’ rights in Michigan is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.