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How to get child support once paternity is established

In Michigan, many unmarried couples with children may wonder what is involved in initiating a paternity suit and what the obligations for the father are once paternity has been established. Generally, a paternity suit arises between an unmarried couple to ensure that the alleged father takes responsibility for the child and pays child support to the mother. The father may also get parenting or visitation rights with the child.

Where paternity is unknown or disputed, a judge can order a DNA test to conclusively determine who the father of the child is. However, the meaning of the term father is not as simple as it may seem. In fact, the legal definition of who and what kind of father one may be varies from state to state.

Generally, when a couple is unmarried, if the man admits that he is the biological father of the child, he has acknowledged the child and is required to pay child support. Another classification of fathers which is frequently encountered in family law courts is the presumed father. This is the most disputed category of father in family court.

A man is presumed to be the father of a child under four situations. First, when the child was conceived or born, the man was actually married to the mother of the child. Second, the man tried to marry the woman while she was pregnant or when the child was born. Third, the man was not married to the mother at the time of the birth of the child but decided to marry her after the child was born and freely agreed to put his name on the child's birth certificate. Finally, the man openly acknowledges the child as his own and allows the child into his house.

Other categories of father include the equitable father and the unwed father. The equitable father is one who has a very close relationship with the child which is encouraged by the biological parents, but the equitable father does not have any biological ties to the child. Finally, unwed fathers are not married to the mother and paternity must be established for such fathers to have any rights.

For those fathers who wish to obtain custody or visitation rights with their children, they want find it helpful to speak with a family law attorney about their options.

Source: FindLaw, "suit-faqs.html">Paternity Suit FAQs," accessed August 19, 2014

Source: FindLaw, "suit-faqs.html">Paternity Suit FAQs," accessed August 19, 2014

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