Establishing paternity can be important to parents, as well as children. Until a man has legally established himself as a child’s father, he does not have any rights to his child. As such, he cannot seek child custody, parenting time or visitation. Additionally, men who have not established paternity do not have the right to participate in important decisions regarding their children. This means that they would have no input on decisions, including their children’s medical treatment or schooling.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, children are entitled to certain benefits from their mothers, as well as their fathers. This could include Social Security insurance benefits, health insurance and veterans’ benefits. When paternity has not been established, a child does not have a claim to these types of benefits through his or her father.
When there is no contest regarding the identity of a child’s father, parents often opt to sign an affidavit of parentage form. This is the easiest way for a father to establish paternity, according to the Michigan Courts. Parents may sign this form at the hospital following their child’s birth, at the local DHS office, at a county Registrar’s Office or by completing the form on the DHS website. When filing this form, both parents’ signatures must be notarized and they must have valid photo identification.