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A Better Partnership
July 16, 2014

COA holds that paternity must be contested and decided by a court for a man to be an “affiliated father” under the Revocation of Paternity Act

In Glaubius v Glaubius, No 318750,  the Michigan Court of Appeals held that categorization as an “affiliated father”  under the Revocation of Paternity Act (RPA) requires that a dispute or question as to a man’s paternity was raised and in fact resolved by a court.  Under the RPA, the classification of a man into one of four “father” categories determines the requirements for revoking his paternity.
 
In Glaubius, the plaintiff and defendant were married for four years, during which time the plaintiff became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter.  The couple divorced roughly a year after the daughter’s birth.  In the divorce settlement, the parties agreed to joint legal custody and a visitation schedule for the defendant.  The divorce settlement referred to the defendant as the child’s father.  The plaintiff later obtained a DNA test that established with 99% certainty that her co-adulterer—not her former husband—was the father.
 
The plaintiff-mother later filed a motion under the RPA to revoke the defendant’s paternity, referring to him as the “presumed father.”  Defendant responded that he was actually an “affiliated father” under the RPA, placing a greater burden on plaintiff’s attempt to revoke his paternity.  The RPA defines an “affiliated father” as “a man who has been determined in a court to be the child’s father.”  Defendant argued that the divorce judgment constituted a determination of paternity by the court.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that the issue of paternity had not been contested and decided by the lower court.  The parties had, instead, merely “proceeded in keeping with the presumption of legitimacy” that attaches to a child conceived and born during a marriage.  The Court of Appeals found that the defendant was a “presumed father” under the RPA.
 
Defendant also argued that the doctrine of res judicata barred the plaintiff’s action to revoke his paternity, because paternity “was or could have been resolved” in the divorce proceedings.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the legislature intended the RPA to authorize post-judgment challenges to paternity, including those where paternity was or could have been litigated.

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