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Presumed father vs. affiliated father: what is the difference under state law?

In our last post, we spoke about the Michigan Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear arguments in a case involving the application of the relatively new Revocation of Paternity Act. The case involves a mother who is seeking to dissolve the parental rights of her ex-husband, which were awarded as part of the couple’s divorce settlement.

As we noted last time, one of the issues in this case is whether the woman’s ex-husband, who has had paternity rights, should be considered the presumed father. Under the Revocation of Paternity Act, “presumed father” refers to a man who was married to the mother of the child at the time of the child’s conception or birth. In this case, the question is specifically whether he is the presumed father or the “affiliated father”—meaning that a court has determined he is the child’s father in what is known as an “order of filiation.” Sources aren’t clear about the exact details of the legal proceedings in the case we’ve been discussing as it relates to this issue, but it is at least clear that this is an important issue that will be examined by the Supreme Court. 

One of the ways an order of filiation comes about is when a man who believes he is the father seeks such an order out. An alleged father is able to obtain such an order if provides clear and convincing evidence that he is in fact the child’s father. Clear and convincing is a higher standard than the preponderance of the evidence standard used in most aspects of civil proceedings.

One significant aspect of state law is that a mother is unable to set aside an order of filiation if the alleged father participates in the court proceedings leading up to the order of affiliation. When such an order comes about without the participation of the alleged father, though, it may be challenged.

Paternity, of course, is an important issue and those who face legal issues surrounding paternity need to have legal guidance and advocacy. Our firm is able to provide competent guidance in paternity cases and to zealously advocate for the rights and interests of our clients.

Source: Michigan Supreme Court, “Memorandum Re: The Revocation of Paternity Act (RPA),” July 26, 2014.

Macomb Daily, “State Supreme Court agrees to hear Macomb County custody case,” Jameson Cook, Dec. 12, 2014. 

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Presumed father vs. affiliated father: what is the difference under state law? | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC