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Could changes in Michigan law give fathers more parental rights?

Michigan fathers may see their parenting and visitation rights change thanks to potential changes in Michigan's state laws.

A new series of bills recently introduced in the state senate could change a law that has been on the books since 1956. The current law states that a child born to a married mother is the product of that marriage, even if the father is not the husband. The new laws would allow courts flexibility in determining the best plan for child custody.

The changes in the law may help one Michigan father in particular. DNA tests have shown that the man is the father of a little girl born while the mother was married to another man. Now, the biological father wants to have parental rights.

The mother has since divorced the man she was married to at the time of the child's birth. Under the current Michigan law, the biological father has fewer parental rights than the mother's ex-husband who did not father the child. Though the biological father has asked the man to relinquish his parental rights, he has thus far refused.

Custody issues can often be contentious in a divorce and other family law situations. Many times both parents want to spend as much time as possible with their children. Things are especially complicated when a third party is involved. It is not clear how this specific case will be solved. Ultimately, the courts will decide what is in the best interests of the child.

If the Michigan legislature decides to change the current laws, the biological father in this case and many others could be affected. It could mean an enormous change for fathers in terms of their parental rights.

Source: WZZM, "Biological father seeks help gaining parental rights," Matt Campbell, Dec. 16, 2011

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