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New law may grant fathers access to their children

Fathers in Georgia may know just how difficult it is to see their children. If you are divorced from or were never married to the mother of your children, you may face an uphill battle for custody of your children. If you've made some mistakes in your past, it may even be difficult for you to get unsupervised visitation with your children. Although spending time with your children may be difficult, imagine being denied complete access to your child because at the time the mother of your child was pregnant, she was married to someone else. Unfortunately, in some states, there are laws that assume the husband of the mother is the father of the child, even if there is DNA proof that says he isn't.

According to ABC News, an old law is being reconsidered after a series of men have been denied custody and visitation rights to their children. The law automatically makes a child who is conceived while a woman is married the child of the husband and wife, even if the child was fathered by someone other than the husband. This means that if a wife becomes pregnant from an extramarital affair, the man who fathered the child will have no legal rights to the child unless the woman's husband relinquishes his parental rights.

The Michigan Maternity Act was originally enacted at a time in which there were no DNA tests that could conclusively prove who a child's father was. It just made more sense to assume that a child belonged to a husband and wife, rather than trying to track down the man who impregnated a married woman. Now, however, numerous fathers are being denied a relationship with their child and the child is not growing up with his or her biological parents.

A new bill may overturn the Michigan Maternity Act, granting fathers access to the courts to seek paternal rights to their children. The bill has already passed through the Senate and is waiting to be adopted by the House of Representatives.

Source: ABC News, "Dads Fight 'Outdated' Michigan Law Barring Them From Their Children," Katti Gray, Dec. 27, 2011

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