“My only option for help was the Harriett Buhai Center.”

Michael* found the baby’s picture on social media and thought she might be his daughter. With the advocacy of the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law team of lawyers, Michael was able to prove he was her dad. This year marks the first Father’s Day Michael spends with his daughter, Zoe*.

Finances Drove Them Apart

After dating for almost a year, Michael and his girlfriend decided to move in with his parents. Michael hoped to get married and start a family when they were ready. But neither of them was employed when his girlfriend found out she was pregnant, and they argued over how they were going to support a family. She left soon after, telling him that she could get more help from her mother in a different city.  

Finding the Harriett Buhai Center 

When Michael learned that his ex-girlfriend had the baby, he tried to talk to her and visit, but she never responded. After filing a paternity case on his own, he found out that another man was named Zoe’s father on the child’s birth certificate. When Michael went to the courthouse to get help, they told him that the Harriett Buhai Center was his only option for legal assistance to try and become a part of Zoe’s life.

Fatherhood Established

With the help of the Center, Michael got a court ordered DNA test that confirmed that he was Zoe’s father. Jeremy Masys, a pro bono attorney of the Center, agreed to represent him in the custody hearing and at trial. Jeremy helped Michael secure equally shared custody of Zoe and obtained a court order to put his name as the father on the birth certificate and remove the other man’s name. Her name was changed to add Michael’s last name.

Jeremy was “impressed that Michael never gave up looking for legal help when faced with adversity and to take on his responsibility as a father.”

*Name and photo changed to protect client’s privacy.

June 19, 2020