Michigan father fights law to gain custody of daughter

Hartland man says paternity test proves he's girl's biological dad

By Roger Weber - Reporter

HARTLAND, Mich. - A Hartland man is fighting to change a 1956 Michigan law which he says prevents him from seeing his biological daughter. 

Daniel Quinn hasn't seen his daughter Maeleigh for three years. She turns six in March. 

"The Paternity Act  states that if a child is conceived during a marriage the child is automatically presumed to be a product of that marriage," said Quinn. 

DNA testing proves Quinn is the father, but Maeleigh was conceived while her mother Candace Beckwith was married to another man. Quinn says he thought that marriage was over, but Beckwith later reconciled with her husband. 

Adam Beckwith is now in an Ohio prison for drug trafficking. The mother was also implicated, according to court documents obtained by Quinn. Still, says Quinn, "I have no standing whatsoever to even claim paternity rights for my daughter." 

The girl is now living with Candace Beckwith in Kentucky. The woman was unavailable for comment.

"This law that was supposed to make sure that a child born out of wedlock had a father in their life has literally stripped her of any father in her life," Quinn said.

The Michigan Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would allow a judge in cases like this to give consideration to the biological father. Quinn is confident the House will approve the bill this year.

 Meanwhile, said Quinn, "It's the equivalent of having a death in the family that is never closed. You never have that time to grieve, you never have that time to mourn because she's still out there."

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