It is not uncommon for couples in Massachusetts to have children before marriage. Sometimes it might happen accidentally and sometimes it might be planned. Whatever the case may be, it is critical to establish paternity, as it not only gives the child an identity, but also establishes the father’s rights as well as responsibilities towards the child.
The family law attorneys at Davis Law Group know that establishing paternity can be a sensitive and emotional issue for all the parties involved. We can guide you through the process, provide the legal counsel and emotional support you need, and help you resolve the issue in the most amicable manner possible.
Call us today at 617-221-3548 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Massachusetts paternity attorneys.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts
Establishing paternity can be extremely beneficial for all the parties involved for a number of reasons.
For the Father
- Gives the right to play an active, constructive role in the child’s life
- Gives the right to seek the child’s custody or visitation rights
For the Mother
- Can receive financial assistance in the form of child support
For the Child
- Gives an identity
- Can get health coverage through the father’s health insurance plan
- Can inherit the father’s property after his demise
- Can receive the payout from the father’s investments, life insurance policies, social security benefits, and veteran’s benefits in the event of his demise
Why it is Important to Seek the Advice of a Paternity Attorney in Massachusetts
The legal issues arising out of a paternity dispute might be too complex for you to deal with. Experienced family law attorney Jay Davis can assess the situation, explain to you what your legal options are, and help you take the right steps to protect your rights as a parent as well as those of your child. Call us today at 617-221-3548 to find out how our Massachusetts family law attorneys can help you with your paternity case.
Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts — What Are Your Options?
If the Parents Are Married
Under Massachusetts law, when a married woman gives birth to a child, the husband is presumed to be the legal father — even if he does not happen to be the biological father. In such a scenario, if the biological father wants to establish paternity, he has two options.
The legal father can sign an affidavit stating that he is not the father of the child. Similarly, the biological father can sign an affidavit stating that he is the father of the child.
If the legal father is unwilling to admit that he is not the father of the child, the biological father can file a complaint with the family court and request for a paternity test. In this case, the court might order all the parties involved — the legal father, the biological father, and the child — to undergo a genetic marker test or a DNA test. Based on the results, the court will determine the child’s father and order his name to be added to the birth certificate.
If the Parents are Unmarried
If the parents are not married to each other when the child is born, and if they both believe that the child is theirs, they can choose to sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
If, on the other hand, the father does not believe that he is the biological father of the child, and if the mother believes that he is, she can file a complaint with the family court to establish paternity. If there is a third party involved, and if he claims that he is the biological father of the child, he can file a complaint with the court to establish paternity.
Disputing Paternity after Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement
In some cases, one of the parents might dispute paternity after signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. This could be due to mistaken identity or due to other reasons. In cases of this nature, they have the right to rescind the acknowledgement they signed and demand a paternity test — as long as they do so within 60 days of signing the acknowledgement. After 60 days, both parents lose their right to rescind the acknowledgement of paternity.
There is, however, an exception to this 60-day rule. If the parent who is disputing paternity can prove that they signed the acknowledgement under duress or if they were duped or lied to by the other parent, they might be able to rescind the acknowledgment they signed and demand a paternity test — within a period of one year from signing the acknowledgement.
After one year, both parents permanently lose their right to dispute paternity — irrespective of other factors.
Want to Dispute or Establish Paternity in Massachusetts? We Can Help You!
Top-rated divorce lawyer Jay Davis has an in-depth understanding of paternity laws in Massachusetts and has handled numerous paternity cases over the years. We can provide you with the individual attention and personalized legal consultation you need and establish the paternity of your child.
Whether you are a parent who is disputing paternity or a parent who is claiming paternity, we can represent you and resolve the issue as discretely as we can while taking the best interests of the child into account.
Call Davis Law Group today at 617-221-3548 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Massachusetts paternity lawyers.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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