I am a soon-to-be mother in michigan. Myself and the father have never been married and I would like to raise the child myself with minimal visitation rights given to the father (every-other weekend would be ideal).The father expresses interest in being there for the child and I know that he will either sign the affidavit or press for DNA paternity testing. How will I be able to keep sole custody of my child if he takes child custody issues to court? and How can I ensure the baby has my last name on the birth certificate?
Family Law Attorney
When the child is born, you should be asked by a hospital representative, to provide infromation for the birth certificate. You should accuratly identify the identity of the father, but you can choose the name of the child, including the child's last name. That's the easy part. It sounds like you are not contesting father's identity, so you may also complete an affidavit for your signiture and father's to establish parantage. Michigan's affidavits also establish custody with the mother, so that helps your cause.
If you are receiving state aid or state assistance with the cost of the birth, the state will initiate proceedings against the father seeking reimbursment and his continued contribution. You should hire counsel to file a complaint for custody and enter an order for his parenting time. Parenting time may vary, depending upon the county where you reside, however they usually allow for alternating weekends and one or two day visits per week, when the child is old enough. During the first few years, father will usually see his child only during the day time, and at a location that is typically convienant to mother.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You can put what you want on the birth certificate. You can acknowledge the father, or you can start your child's life with a lie. Some day, your child will ask you about this. You begin with custody, and if father is awarded "standard" parenting time, that usually involves every other weekend, one or two short visits mid-week, alternative holidays, but with father's day to him, mother's day for you. Summer parenting time varies some by age of the child. Your child is entitled to two parents. You should receive child support and assistance with medical care. Even if you do not need the money now, you will. It costs about $250,000 to raise a child. If the support money is not needed, put it in a college savings account for later. There are good deals on pre-paid tuition or tax-free savings. Your child will want both parents at his or her graduation, marriage, and when grandchildren come.
You should file for "custody, support, and parenting time" and offer the father standard time. Usually, this is less while the child is very young. Friend of the Court (FOC) will get financial statements from both parents and compute the support amount and collect it. If you can on any kind of public assistance, the state will file a support petition, but those are pretty sketchy as to parenting time, so you should file that yourself, if applicable.
We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.
As noted in the previous answers, when you go to the hospital and give birth, the hospital staff will ask you for information regarding the birth certificate, and also ask if you're willing to sign an Affidavit of Parentage.
Never lie. On the other hand, if you are unmarried at the time of the child's birth, you are NOT required to give the father's name, and the use of his name requires your written consent. If someone in the hospital says otherwise, tell the hospital to contact the hospital attorney and check this statute: MCL 333.2824(2).
A totally different document which you may be asked to sign is an Affidavit of Parentage. This document is signed, notarized, filed with the State Registrar, and makes the biological father the legal father of the child. It is important that you know that, for a child born out of wedlock, the only way a man becomes the legal father is by both the man and woman signing the Affidavit of Parentage, or by a Court Order. You are NOT required to sign the Affidavit of Parentage either.
If you do sign the Affidavit of Parentage, you still retain full custody of the child, and you will not be required by law to give any parenting time. The only way in which you will be required to give parenting time is through a Court Order.
To summarize, you are not required, if unmarried, to sign either the Birth Certificate or the Affidavit of Parentage.
On the other hand, the advice given to you by the preceding attorneys is also true. So, just because you are not required to sign any document either naming the Father for the Birth Certificate, or agreeing that he is the legal father by signing the Affidavit of Parentage, doesn't mean that you should not sign those documents, nor does it mean that you should not give him parenting time. That decision is up to you.
I strongly recommend that, prior to the child's birth, you consult a good family lawyer. There are many legal consequences to whichever decison you make. Before making those decisions you would be well advised to discuss them with your lawyer, and make informed decisions that fit your individual case.
Good luck, congratulations on your baby, and Merry Christmas.
Willliam L. LaBre, J.D.
Attorney at Law
68897 So. Cass Street
P.O. Box 550
Edwardsburg, MI 49112