What are a legal father’s rights versus a biological father’s rights?

About 8 years ago my girlfriend cheated on me and got pregnant. ong story short, she dumped the man because we were tryng to fix our relationship. Since then, we have had 3 children and got married about 2 years ago. The man has never said anything about the child. I never got a DNA test done because no matter what, I was going to raise the child. She is now 7 years old. Recently her biological father started making threats of suing and making us take a DNA test. This guy is a bad person. Do I have any rights as the legal father to deny the test? And, if a test is forced and she is found to ne his child, will I lose all of my rights? It would be horrible for my daughter if this insane man was forced into her life.

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Family Law, Michigan


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Whether fair or not, biological parents generally have supreme rights to a non-biological parent.  This means that biological dad can file a paternity suit to have himself named dad.  However, considering that he has not been involved in the child's life for seven years, your wife may be able to counter sue for termination of his parental rights, combined with a petition for you to officially adopt your daughter.  If this man is horrible, then you may want to start looking around for a family law attorney that can be ready to help you if/when this does become an issue. 

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