In custody disputes, some state laws require that a child have a genetic connection to a parent in order to obtain custody of the child. Michigan’s Court of Appeals recently concluded that requiring a genetic connection between parent and child was not supported by Michigan’s Acknowledgment of Parentage Act. That is a significant development that will make it easier for non-genetically related parents in a custody dispute.
In the case Lefever v Matthews, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a trial court’s conclusion that Michigan law ‘generally requires a genetic connection to establish paternity.’ The Michigan Court of Appeals concluded that such a result is not supported by Michigan’s Acknowledgment of Parentage Act. The Court reasoned that the Act establishes paternity, not maternity, and does not require a genetic connection between the father and child to establish paternity. In Lefever, the Court recognized that the defendant mother is a “natural parent” under the Child Custody Act although it was her female partner who birthed the children.
If you are concerned about whether a Court will recognize your right to be the legally recognized parent of a child who is not genetically related to you, contact Attorney Diana Mohyi for a consultation.