Does my child’s absent biological father have custodial rights?

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Does my child’s absent biological father have custodial rights?

My child is 6 years old and in that time her biological father has seen her once. I am filing for child support and paternity has yet to be established. He was never named on the birth certificate. I am worried that he will receive custodial rights over her and am not sure what I can do to prevent that.

Asked on November 23, 2010 under Family Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to speak with a family attorney. Generally speaking, courts will give parents at least visitation rights and possibly custody. Courts weigh the parental interest  of the parent--which is given great weight--and the best interests of the child--which is given greater weight, but which is itself informed by a presumption that contact with parents is a good thing. In short, usually a parent will get at least some visitation rights, if not some amount of custody, but it will depend greatly on the circumstances and what can be shown about the child's interests. You need to discuss the matter with an experienced family law attorney, who can help you both evaluate the situation and let you know what to expect and what evidence, etc. will help your case...though be prepared that it's likely that he'll have some rights, whether or not he then choose to exercise them.


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