Plaintiff gave birth to BT one day before she and defendant were married in July 2012.
In December 2013, plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce in pro per. During the divorce proceedings, both plaintiff and defendant suggested that defendant might not be the biological father of BT, and plaintiff asked the trial court more than once to order a paternity test to determine if defendant was BT’s father. The court indicated that it would take plaintiff’s request under advisement and issue a ruling after deciding whether a divorce case was the proper vehicle to contest the paternity of a child conceived and born prior to the marriage. No such ruling was forthcoming.
On December 3, 2014, plaintiff filed a stipulated judgment of divorce, which listed BT as a minor child of the parties and provided for a joint custody arrangement for her and defendant.
At the hearing held the same day, plaintiff admitted that she had stated in her complaint that defendant was BT’s father. She also admitted that there was no contrary DNA evidence testing currently available.
Following entry of the judgment of divorce, plaintiff filed a motion for revocation of an acknowledged father’s paternity under MCL 722.14371 of the Revocation of Paternity Act (RPA). Defendant opposed the motion, but a stipulated order for DNA testing was entered, and the results indicated that there was no probability that defendant was the father of BT.
Subsequently, defendant posited that he was an affiliated father under the RPA based on the entry of the judgment of divorce, which declared him to be the child’s father.
Plaintiff filed a motion asking the trial court to terminate defendant’s paternity and amend the parties’ judgment of divorce. At issue is whether the judgment of divorce determined BT’s paternity. The court never determined BT’s paternity despite having been repeatedly asked to do so, the judgment of divorce did not establish defendant’s paternity as an affiliated father under the RPA.
The court entered the parties’ judgment of divorce on or around December 3, 2014 and since then, neither party has properly sought to appeal the judgment. In other words, if the plaintiff wants to change the custody and parenting-time provisions in the judgment of divorce, she must file a motion for modification in the trial court.
Do Not Try to Solve A Paternity Dispute Alone
If you and your child's other parent are not married and cannot agree on the terms of your custody and visitation arrangements, you will need strong representation to preserve your right to remain involved in your child's life.
We understand what a stressful time this is for you when your custody rights are on the line. Contact Aldrich Legal Services to schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.