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A Better Partnership
September 29, 2014

MSC to clarify when an acknowledgment of parentage should be revoked under Michigan’s Revocation of Paternity Act

The Michigan Supreme Court granted leave to appeal in Helton v. Beaman, No. 148927, clarify the standard for determining whether to revoke an acknowledgment of parentage under Michigan’s Revocation of Paternity Act, MCL 722.1437.  In its opinion, the Court of Appeals called for an appeal to the MSC.  In that same opinion, the COA held that the circuit court erred when it used the child’s best interest factors to deny plaintiff’s request to revoke defendant’s acknowledgment of parentage.  However, the COA affirmed the court’s decision on other grounds, reasoning that DNA evidence alone is not sufficient to require revocation, the legislature has not addressed the issue, and also that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrine of laches.
 
Thus, the MSC will determine the following issues:
 
  1. whether DNA testing results were sufficient to support the allegation that the affidavit of parentage was based on a mistake of fact;
 
  1. whether “paternity determination” in MCL 722.1443(4) includes an acknowledgment of parentage;
 
  1. whether, assuming the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s MCL 722.1437(2) affidavit, the circuit court is always required to consider the best-interest factors of MCL 722.1443(4);
 
  1. Whether, if MCL 722.1443(4) does apply, the plaintiff in a revocation of parentage acknowledgment case must bear the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that revocation is in the best interests of the child; and
 
  1. Alternatively, whether the equitable doctrine of laches applies here in support of the circuit court’s decision to deny the plaintiff’s request for revocation of the acknowledgment of parentage.
 
 
 
MSC Order link: http://publicdocs.courts.mi.gov:81/SCT/PUBLIC/ORDERS/20140924_S148927_47_01_148927_2014-09-24_or.pdf
 
COA opinion link: http://publicdocs.courts.mi.gov:81/OPINIONS/FINAL/COA/20140204_C314857(37)_RPTR_20o-314857-FINAL.PDF

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