Lawmaker fights to change Michigan's Paternity Act

Quinn family protests Michigan's Paternity Act

We TMre continuing to follow a story we first brought you a few weeks ago.

A Fenton father is fighting for custody of his daughter after she was used by her mother's husband to sell drugs.

But an old state law is keeping him from ever having paternity rights.

NBC25 talked with a lawmaker who is trying to change Michigan TMs Paternity Act.

Michigan is one of only a handful of state's that doesn't take into consideration DNA testing when a child is born outside a traditional marriage.

And one father says this has torn his family apart.

Monday, Fenton resident Daniel Quinn was denied parental rights of his daughter Maeleigh.

Maeleigh was born when her mother was in a relationship with Quinn, but married to another man.

A DNA test proved Quinn was Maeleigh's father, but Michigan TMs Paternity Act automatically gave legal rights of fatherhood to the woman's husband, because he promised a judge he would take care of Maeleigh.

That man ended up using her to sell drugs.

"People have been pleading for years that the Michigan Paternity Act is wrong, people have been pleading for years that this can aid in the kidnapping of a child, well now it has, so I ask where is our legislature?" said Fenton Resident Daniel Quinn, who is fighting for custody of his daughter.

Michigan Representative Matt Lori introduced legislation last month that would give fathers such as Quinn an option to ask for parental rights, even if the mother is against it.

Lori says Michigan TMs Paternity Act, created nearly 200 years ago, needs to reflect today's society.

We have a lot of couples getting together who are not married and ending up with children and splitting, and the divorce rate is much, much higher than it was 30 years ago, said State Representative Matt Lori.

Lori TMs legislation would also give Quinn TMs DNA test more clout.

I think biological parents should have rights too, making a compromise in the middle and keeping the well-being of the child in mind, said Rep. Lori.

But changing Michigan TMs law is no easy task. Until the House decides to hear Lori TMs bill, he encourages fathers like Quinn to be patient and to remain hopeful.

NBC25 has received several phone calls from other fathers who are also fighting for parental rights.

Representative Lori says the best course of action is to contact your state representative.

Representative Matt Lori's bill is being looked at by the Families and Children's Services Committee.