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Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents in Michigan

 Posted on July 23, 2021 in Family Law

Novi family law attorneyIn Michigan, when a couple is married, the spouses are both accepted as being the legal parents of their child. This holds true for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. But what about when couples are not married? It can be quite difficult to figure out parental rights, such as child custody. If you are currently dealing with child custody issues, understanding your rights is key.

Unmarried Fathers in Michigan

Unmarried mothers are presumed to have primary custody of their children unless the biological father establishes paternity and attains a court order of custody rights. Unmarried fathers can establish paternity voluntarily with the agreement of the mother by signing an Affidavit of Parentage either at the hospital when the child is born or later on. If paternity is contested, a father can establish parentage through the court in a process that typically involves genetic testing to determine if there is a biological relationship.

After establishing paternity, a father will need to take additional legal action to pursue a new custody arrangement. Keep in mind, however, that under Michigan law, it can be very difficult for a biological father to establish paternity and get custody rights if the child’s mother is married to another man, as that man will already be presumed to be the child’s legal father.

Child Custody

The simplest thing that can happen in a child custody arrangement is for both parents to agree. Courts will typically approve of custody agreements between parents so long as they are in the best interest of the child.

If both parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, the court will make the decision for them. The court will decide physical custody (which parent the child will live with), legal custody (who will make important decisions for the child), and visitation (when a parent without physical custody will have time with the child). The court may award sole custody to one parent, or joint custody to both parents. Once these decisions have been made, the court will officially issue a custody agreement that both parents must abide by.

Contact a Novi, MI Child Custody Lawyer

If you are engaged in a battle for the custody of your child, you should consider consulting with a qualified Michigan family law attorney. To learn more about your rights, contact the Oakland County child custody attorneys at Elkouri Heath, PLC. We will fight for you. For a free consultation, call our office today at 248-344-9700.






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