Custody battle between parents who are considered minors

divorce questions to askQuestion:

My question is about child custody laws. I was 17 when I got my daughter’s mother pregnant when she was 14.

I would like to obtain custody or at least have visitation rights established with our child.

However, I was told I could go to jail if I brought this issue to the court because of our ages when we had sex. Is that true?

Answer:

Under Michigan law (the state I practice in), minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to having sexual relations because they are not yet considered capable of making well-informed decisions.

Therefore, even if you and your daughter’s mother had consensual sexual relations before her 16th birthday, you could potentially be charged with third degree sexual conduct.

The statutory period for bringing this action is 10 years from the date of the conduct, or until the underage party reaches her 21st birthday.

If you are the biological father of this child, then you have the right to be involved in your child’s life, including obtaining custody and parenting time. You also have an obligation to pay child support.

The act of trying to obtain court-ordered custody or parenting time is not in and of itself going to be the cause of a potential criminal action being brought against you. The two exist separate and apart from one another.

However, admitting that you are the father can be construed as an admission that you engaged in the sexual conduct that you could potentially be charged with.

I do not know the details of your case, but if the mother of your child is now 21 years old, there should be no issue with your previous sexual relationship with her.

If you need detailed information or advice, or wish to take specific action in this matter, you need to contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients and nationwide.

To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Tamara Hoffstatter, an attorney in the Troy, Michigan, office of Cordell & Cordell, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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