Bieda, Jones Remove Obstacles to Establishing Legal Paternity
LANSING- Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren) is hoping for fast action on a package of bills he sponsored with Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) that amends Michigan's paternity laws. Under current law, a woman's husband is legally her child's father, even if the child was fathered by another man. One well documented case is that of Daniel Quinn, of Fenton, MI. Despite having proved paternity and raising his daughter for two years, Mr. Quinn was denied parental rights because the girl's mother was married to another man at the time of birth.
"This antiquated law is preventing fathers from having a relationship with their biological children," said Sen. Bieda. "There shouldn't be legal roadblocks for men who want to step up and take responsibility. Scientific advances have made the old system for determining paternity obsolete."
In Michigan, 42% of all babies are born to unmarried women. This trend has led to an increased focus on the fathers of these children. Unmarried fathers have few legal rights when they seek recognition and expanded roles in raising their children. The four bills create the Revocation of Paternity Act and set out procedures for establishing that a presumed father is not a child's actual father. The individuals involved would be required to participate in and pay for blood or tissue typing or DNA profiling. The package of bills was passed unanimously from the Senate Committee on Judiciary last week.
"These bills let a child's rightful father play a role in his or her life," said Sen. Jones. "It's absurd that our laws would keep a biological father separated from his kids."
The bill has the support of Friend of the Court, Governor's Task Force on Justice for Children, MI Probate Judges Association, Family Law Section of the State Bar and the Department of Human Services.
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