Biased State Paternity Laws

Paternity laws are notorious for being unfair toward men as outlined in our series of articles focusing on state laws that are particular harsh toward men.

We’ve already examined Illinois laws, where without a court order regarding custody or visitation, a father has no legal right to see his child though he is responsible to provide financial support to the child.

In Texas, the laws are harsh on a man who signs an Acknowledgement of Paternity only to learn he is not the biological father.

This article will address three more states whose paternity laws put men at a disadvantage: Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.


When a child is born out of wedlock in Michigan, even if the father establishes paternity of the child, he is given no rights to custody or visitation of the child, but still may have to pay child support. He can only get visitation rights if the mother consents or by petitioning the court.

This puts unwed fathers at an immediate disadvantage because it is presumed that the mother should care for the child and the father has to fight for any rights at all.

Source: Divorce Lawyer For Men Jill Duffy, Cordell & Cordell Law Firm


The same is true in Oklahoma as in Michigan that the court cannot put in place an order regarding custody or visitation without a parent requesting the same when in administrative court.

But there is a statute in Oklahoma that in paternity and child support arrearage cases in district court, the court will make an inquiry to determine if the noncustodial parent has been denied reasonable visitation. The court can then include visitation provisions in a support order if it determines reasonable visitation has been denied.

This law became effective in 1990, however, and no cases have cited it, so how often it is actually implemented is unknown.

Source: Mens Divorce Attorney Katherine V. Lewis, Cordell & Cordell


Section IX of the Wisconsin Family Code – Paternity.

The entire section is entirely unfair to men beginning with the assumption that the mother is the primary caretaker and finishing with the point that the father is statutorily responsible for reimbursing the state for birthing expenses if the mother was on state assistance when the child is born.

The mother isn’t required to pay back the state, though.

Source: Attorney Trisha Festerling, Cordell and Cordell

The family law attorneys of Cordell & Cordell handle many domestic litigation issues, including paternity. Contact the Cordell & Cordell office nearest you or learn more information about paternity laws on

Men's Rights Editor

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