GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV)- More couples are choosing to have families without the benefits of marriage which can lead to legal pitfalls and lots of confusion. Many women who come into the DAWN offices are unaware that if they were never married to the father of their child, the court gives sole physical and legal custody to the mother.
Biological fathers have to petition the court and ask for custody of their children if are not married to the mother. The court then can award the father partial or sole physical and legal custody depending on the circumstances and what the father is asking for. There have been some sweeping changes in this area of the law recently so if you have any questions at all it is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney who is well versed in family law.
It is important to know that if the biological father has acknowledged paternity, he is obligated to pay child support under Michigan law unless the court has determined otherwise.