Reporting Charlie Langton
DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) A happy Father’s Day tale started to unfold this week in Michigan when dad Daniel Quinn got a big boost in his quest for time with his 6-year-old daughter.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that changes an antiquated law — and could finally give Quinn, of Hartland, legal standing as a father to Maeleigh.
The old Michigan law, that dates back to 1956, says any child born during the time of a marriage is a product of that marriage, so though a DNA test found that Quinn is the biological father of the girl he loves, the man the child’s mother was married to at the time of her birth is legally her father. Quinn has fought long and hard to change that, and the child’s mother has fought him — and won — every step of the way.
But now DNA, and not just marriage, is the grounds of a paternity decision in Michigan. “It’s a rebuttable presumption (now),” Quinn said, adding that before the law changed he didn’t even have legal standing to appear in court.
He last saw his daughter on Memorial Day 2008, before his relationship with the girl’s mother fizzled.
Quinn said he thought his ex-girlfriend was divorced when she had his baby, but later found out otherwise.
“She led on everybody to believe she had left him, they were separated,” he said, adding that he raised Maeleigh for two-and-a-half years before his relationship with the child’s mother broke up and she went back to her ex.
A DNA test confirmed he was the father, but the girl’s mother claimed her husband was the father. Backed up by law, she won custody and took the child to Kentucky.
“Even though I raised her, the courts automatically ruled he was the father and gave him my little girl,’ Quinn said.
The mother and her ex-husband were arrested shortly after on drug trafficking charges.
“This is a disaster,” Langton said.
The little girl now lives in Lexington, Ky., and “the last I heard she was staying with my daughter’s mother and … her new boyfriend,” Quinn said.
What’s the next step? Quinn said he plans to go to court to “vacate the old presumption” and get recognized as her legal father, and then have a happy reunion with his daughter.
“We are already working on it … We need to file and make sure that everything is correct,” Quinn said.