Paternity Establishment

  • Paternity establishment is needed to identify a child's legal father. A complete and notarized Affidavit of Parentage form or court order establishing paternity can be used as legal proof of paternity. Paternity of a child must be established if a child is born to an unmarried mother or a mother who has not been married within the past 10 months.

    If the mother is married when the child is born, her husband is recognized as the legal father.

    If the mother is not married, the mother and father may establish paternity voluntarily by completing an Affidavit of Parentage form.

    Paternity may also be established through a court order, after the biological father is determined by DNA testing.

    Unknown Father

    You will need to provide information on any and all possible fathers in order to pursue a child support case. If you are receiving public assistance and you are unwilling to provide information about possible fathers, your public assistance benefits could be reduced or canceled.

    Proof of Paternity

    If a parent or alleged parent wants proof that he is the biological father of the child, he may request genetic testing to show:

    • He is not the biological father of the child, or
    • He has greater than 99% likelihood that he is the biological father of the child.

    Acknowledge Paternity

    Both parents can voluntarily acknowledge paternity:

    • In the hospital at birth, the father's name may be added to the birth record free of charge up until the time the hospital files the birth certificate.
      Note: Paternity can still be established at a later date for no charge, but a fee is required to add the father's name to the birth certificate.
    • At your local Department of Human Services office.
    • At the local county Registrar's Office.
    • By completing the Affidavit of Parentage form from the Michigan Department of Community Health website.


    Both parents must have valid photo identification and have both signatures notarized before filing the form with the Department of Community Health.

Learn More - View Paternity Publications