How to Establish Paternity When Filing for Custody in Michigan

Do I need to have a DNA test done to prove paternity?

What happens when the child’s father isn’t the husband?

Today, we are starting a series about filing a custody case in Michigan. Over the next week, I will be publishing articles that will shed light on custody cases.

In Michigan, there are situations when grandparents or legal guardians are awarded custody. For this series, we will be sharing only about custody cases between parents. If you are a grandparent or legal guardian, you are more than welcome to give my office a call with any questions that you may have.

While this series will be covering a lot of information about filing for custody in Michigan, today I would like to share one of the very first steps that many Michigan parents may need to take to by establishing paternity.

When Paternity Needs to be Established

Let’s discuss when paternity needs to be established. The most common situation is when the child’s parents are not married. Paternity must be determined in these situations.

Another situation when paternity needs to be determined is when the father of the child is not the husband. Legally, if the child is born while the mother is married, the husband is considered the father.

When the Father Isn’t the Husband

When the father of a child is not the husband, the mother of the child or the husband needs to obtain a court order that establishes the husband is not the father. When that is established, the mother or the child’s father can move forward with establishing paternity.

How to Establish Paternity

The easiest way to establish paternity is by Affidavit of Parentage. The great thing about the Affidavit of Parentage is that there isn’t any DNA test required or court orders. Instead, the mother and father can sign a sworn statement that is filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

You can find a copy of the Affidavit of Parentage at

Something to note is that according to Michigan Legal Help,

“When you sign the Affidavit of Parentage you waive your right to a paternity test. After the Affidavit of Parentage is signed and filed, the father is responsible for paying child support and has parental rights. If there is any doubt, get a paternity test before you sign the affidavit.”

If you still have any questions regarding establishing paternity, please contact me or give my office a call.

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000