If parents are not married in Michigan, the mother automatically has custody of her child. The father may have to fight to remain a part of their child’s life, and proving paternity is necessary.
According to Psychology Today, children benefit in several ways from the presence of a father or father figure in their lives, whether he lives with them or not.
Being a dad is a lifetime commitment, and fathers play a role in their child’s life that shapes them into the person they become. Children typically look to their fathers for physical and emotional security. When a dad engages with his kids, he promotes inner strength and growth. By taking part in their daily care, such as eating and playing together, he helps them become more confident as they grow older.
Children want to make dad proud, and when he is supportive and affectionate, he also positively impacts their social and cognitive development. The way a father interacts with his children influences the way they see others. The bond becomes an example of what to look for in friends, lovers and spouses. Daughters recognize how a good relationship with a man looks. Sons follow their father’s example and imitate his behavior.
A father must establish paternity if he and his child’s mother were not married. If the mother married someone else, the law presumes the mother’s husband is the legal father. A court order for genetic testing can confirm paternity when necessary. A biological father can gain visitation rights or custody through a court order only after the confirmation. Parents typically must address child support, custody and visitation arrangements after establishing paternity.