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Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed bills into law that lay down new rules aimed at establishing paternity and making fathers more accountable for the support of children on welfare.

A key provision in the legislation, which he signed Wednesday, sets up a procedure for determining paternity, including allowing a prosecutor to order genetic testing of a man suspected of fathering or being the father of a child on welfare.

Snyder said he approved the package of bills because it “keeps our child support system running efficiently to ensure Michigan children and families have access to the benefits they deserve.”

One bill amends state law to specify that Family Independence Program benefits could be denied or terminated if a recipient fails, without good cause, to comply with applicable child support requirements that include efforts to establish paternity and assign or obtain child support.

The 13 bills also:

Declare that a positive genetic test is a conclusive method of determining paternity, if certain conditions are met, and without requiring a court determination.

Create a new Summary Support and Paternity Act with streamlined methods for establishing paternity and child support court orders.

Give parents who are struggling to make child support payments the ability to apply for alternative court-monitored options for payment.

Ensure child support is paid before assistance is granted through the Family Independence Program.

Allow prosecution for nonsupport the support payer was aware of the case.

Move the authority for child support allocation and determination to the Office of Child Support, instead of the State Court Administrative Office

“Eliminating confusion within the law will help increase the effectiveness of our system while reducing unnecessary court costs,” Snyder said.

GHeinlein@detroitnews.com

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