Father Fights to Change Michigan Paternity Act

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

"I raised my daughter, I saw her first steps, I heard her first word, I've seen her first cry. My daughter's my world, she's everything to me," said Hartland resident, Daniel Quinn.

Quinn's world was turned upside down in 2008 when he lost custody of his two-year-old daughter, Maeleigh. He says it happened when he split from Maeleigh's mother, who decided to rejoin her husband out of state and took their daughter with her.

"The husband, eight months later, showed up in the courts with his attorney to testify that he was the only father my daughter ever knew," Quinn said.

Since then, Quinn has been fighting an uphill battle in the courts. Under Michigan's Paternity Act from 1956, the mother's husband is assumed to be the legal father of the child.

However, a package of bills making their way through the Michigan Legislature could help to give Quinn legal rights as the biological father. If passed, it would change paternity laws giving a judge the power to determine custody based on what's best for the child.

For Quinn, it's a glimmer of hope and he says he will never stop fighting.

"I was standing in the nursery with my little girl, the very first words out of my mouth to my little girl is that daddy will always protect you."

For more than three years, Quinn has had almost no contact with Maeleigh. He says even that can't break the bond between father and daughter. For now, he wants to send out a message to his daughter.

"For now, I just want you to continue to be a kid and daddy will do the rest...I love you baby girl and just be safe, daddy's still here."


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