Under Michigan law, if you are married at the time a child is born or conceived, the person you are married to at that time is the child’s legal parent. This is the case even if someone else is the biological parent. Understandably, this could cause issues with biological paternity, which is why there is the Michigan Revocation of Paternity Act. This Act (ROPA) makes it sometimes possible for paternity to be revoked. It is important to be aware of this given the growing number of non-traditional families in Oakland County, Macomb County, Livingston County and around Michigan.
So, How Is Paternity Revoked? (Or “It’s the wrong baby daddy!”)
Either the biological mother, biological father, or father by marriage (legal father), can file a motion or complaint to have paternity revoked. In some situations, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services may file a motion or complaint. This used to be called a “Lombardo motion” but we now proceed under ROPA.
The easiest course of action is for all three parents in the picture to agree to give the biological father paternity and to revoke the paternity of the legal father. Of course, things are often not that simple. A legal father wanting a judge to determine a child was born outside of marriage can file a ROPA motion in an existing case such as a divorce, a case involving child support or custody, or a case of child neglect, among others, before the child turns three years of age. This isn’t a simple proceeding, especially here in Oakland County, but our family law attorneys have great successes with ROPA cases.
If none of these cases apply, the legal father’s attorney can still file a Complaint to start a paternity case. It is possible to be granted a time extension if the child is over three if there is evidence of duress, mistake of fact, or other reasons to give an extension. Again, not a simple process we have a good track record.
It is more difficult for the alleged biological father to ask for the legal father’s paternity to be revoked. Genetic testing will likely be ordered or agreed to. However, just because someone is determined to be the biological father does not guarantee that paternity will be revoked and given to them. And before you ask, you can’t just use a paternity test kit you bought on line or at WalMart. No judge is going to accept those results.
The court will ultimately consider what is in the best interest of the child. When doing this, a court will consider:
- The relationship between the child and legal father
- The age of the child
- The length of time the legal father knew he might not be the biological father.
- Any harm that could result to the child
- Any other factor deemed appropriate to the court
I Need To Revoke Someone’s Paternity, So What Do I Do?
The process of revoking paternity can be lengthy and difficult. It is also high stakes because it concerns the well-being of a child. For these reasons, it is very important to have a highly skilled family law attorney with a proven record. Whether you are a legal father seeking to revoke your rights to a child that is not biologically yours, or a biological parent seeking to revoke another’s paternity to have it awarded to you, we can help. At The Kronzek Firm, our attorneys know how to navigate the murky waters of the family court system here in Southeast and can help you with paternity or any other family law issue you are facing. Contact us today at 248-479-6200 or by email at ContactUs@Kronzek.law for a free consultation!