Michael Barnes Jr. had hoped the high court would permit him to sue for paternity determination, which is necessary in order for him to seek parental rights. What is unique in this case is that Barnes is actually listed as the father on the birth certificate of his eight-year-old son. In fact, both parents even signed an affidavit of parentage following the boy's birth, and Barnes spent more than four years raising the child with the boy's mother.
Since then, the couple has ended their relationship, and Barnes would like to continue to play a role in his son's life. However, because the boy's mother was married to another man at the time of the boy's conception, Barnes is not recognized by Michigan law as the child's father.
In case you're not familiar with this issue, it's known as the "presumption of paternity." In many states, whenever a child is born to a married couple, the husband is automatically presumed to be the father. As a result, it's possible for a man to be legally and financially responsible for a child he did not biologically father.
In this case, though, it's preventing a man who believes he's the biological father from even attempting to prove that. And sadly, it leaves his son without his father's involvement in his young life.
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Related: Read the entire story in The Detroit News.