Updating a story that we've spoken about before on this blog, the Michigan governor has signed into law granting all fathers that pass paternity tests the right to go into court to seek child custody and visitation rights for their children. Prior to this, a woman's husband was legally presumed to be the father of a child.
The change in the law came about in part because of an actual circumstance where the biological father of a young girl has not been allowed to see his daughter for almost three years. This same individual soon plans on going to court in hopes of winning custody to his child, or in any case being granted visitation rights.
The disturbing aspect about the prior statute that was in place in Michigan was that a biological father did not have custody or visitation rights - even if the individuals that did have custody were shown to be guilty of neglect. Thus, the prior state of law in many circumstances did not take into account what was in the best interest of the child.
In all matters concerning child support, child custody or visitation, family law attorneys make arguments to the court as to what is felt would be the best for the child. Likewise, the interest of the child is always going to be the focus of judges in such courts whenever a child is the subject of a dispute.
Hopefully, the new law will make rulings in family law court to be more based on the unique circumstances of each custody or visitation matter rather than upon rigid rules that have little connection with reality.
Source: Daily Tribune, "A father's journey: Michigan man's plight sparks change in state's custody law," by Chad Selweski, June 15, 2012