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Updates Needed to Outdated Parenting Laws

In Michigan, there is a custody battle based on the mother’s marital status at the time of birth. The battle has launched major changes and a new law which may help the child’s father gain custody.

According to Daniel Quinn, in 2006, he was dating a woman who told him she was divorced. She became pregnant, and the two moved in together. After their child was born, Quinn says, he was unable to have his name on the baby’s birth certificate. The hostile administrator told Quinn that the woman was married. According to Michigan law at the time, the husband is the presumed father of his wife’s children born during the marriage.

Quinn and the woman continued to live together during two and a half years, as the baby became a toddler. The pair then split and the woman went back to hr husband. The husband allegedly told the judge that he was, for all intents and purposes, the child’s father.

Quinn lobbied to change the law, and this past June, Michigan updated parental rights to include allowing biological fathers the right to petition for parental rights of their biological child.

Now Quinn is slated to appear in front of a judge to ask that he be recognized as his daughter’s father, and reunite with the child he has not seen since 20008. Meanwhile, the husband of the child’s mother is in prison on drug trafficking charges. Quinn alleges that the steps the couple used to keep custody of the child was not kidnapping, but in fact conspiracy and collusion, using the law to manipulate and defraud the courts.

The Michigan case is an example of how the two-legal-parent limit can be stifling, a situation, one which some states are attempting to rectify. California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1476 which would allow a child to have more than two legal parents. Introduced by State Senator Mark Leno, Bill 1476 proposed that there may be more than two legal parents as recognized by a judge when a biological or previous custodial parent met the best interests of the child. Brown vetoed the law not due to a lack of sympathy toward the intent of the bill, but due to potential Social Security and other issues not covered by the bill. Multiple states, including Pennsylvania and Maine, have similar laws in place for custody cases.


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