Domestic Diversions

Trumping Paternity Act

The Michigan Court of Appeals is publishing Sinicropi v. Mazurek (Case No. No. 268000, December 7, 2006). The court held that an acknowledgement of paternity precludes entry of an order of filiation.

Judge Murphy writes (excerpt):
We hold that an order of filiation cannot be entered under the Paternity Act if, under the Acknowledgment of Parentage Act, a proper acknowledgment of parentage was previously executed and has not been revoked. This is because, under MCL 722.1003 and MCL 722.1004, an unrevoked acknowledgment already legally established paternity and conferred the status of natural and legal father upon the man executing the acknowledgment, which in turn entitled him to seek custody or parenting time if desired and obligated him to pay support if appropriate. Accordingly, the trial court erred by ruling that the child has two legally recognized fathers under both the Acknowledgment of Parentage Act and the Paternity Act. The case is reversed and remanded to the trial court for further reflection on the issue of revocation of the acknowledgment of parentage. The trial court is directed to address revocation solely under MCL 722.1011(3), which requires, in part, that Mazurek prove by clear and convincing evidence
that revocation of the acknowledgment of parentage is proper considering the equities of the case. Should the trial court again rule to reject revocation, the court shall pronounce Powers as the child’s legal father, vacate the order of filiation and any orders based thereon, including the child support orders relative to Sinicropi, and let stand the custody determination as between Powers and Mazurek because we find no errors warranting reversal with respect to that determination. Should the trial court rule to revoke the acknowledgment of parentage on remand, the court shall pronounce Sinicropi as the child’s legal father consistent with the order of filiation, vacate any orders based on Powers’ status as the father, including the order granting him joint legal and sole physical custody, and enter any appropriate orders, upon hearing if necessary, in regard to custody and support as those matters relate to Sinicropi and Mazurek.

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