Establishing legal parentage and parental rights is something that is important for both parents and children. However, if parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth, the father will not have legal rights or established parentage in regards to that child until further action is taken by both the mother and father to establish paternity. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our knowledgeable Boston paternity lawyer can help you to understand everything there is to know about establishing paternity in Massachusetts, including what happens after paternity has been established.
Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts
Paternity is the term used to describe legal fatherhood. There are three ways in which paternity is established in Massachusetts. These include:
- Marriage at the time of the child’s birth. If the parents of a child are married at the time of the child’s birth, it is assumed that the man is the father of the child, and paternity is automatically established.
- Signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form. If parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth, parents can both sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form at the time of birth. This form can also be signed at a later date.
- Court order. If there is any doubt about paternity or paternity is disputed, the case may be taken to the courts. If a case goes to court, genetic testing of father and child will almost certainly be required.
The Importance of Establishing Paternity
Regardless of whether you are a child’s mother or father, establishing paternity should be a top priority. Establishing paternity has many benefits, including:
- Providing the child with certain rights, including the right to any inheritance, the right to collect certain benefits on the father’s record, and access to the father’s medical and life insurance benefits;
- Providing the child with a sense of identity and the opportunity to develop a relationship with the father;
- Providing the father of the child with the right to seek custody of and visitation with the child, as well as all other parental rights; and
- Providing the mother of the child with the opportunity to seek support, including child support payments, from the father.
Get Help with Your Paternity Case
Many paternity cases are very complicated. Indeed, it is not uncommon for a man to dispute that he is the father, for a mother to be married to someone other than the biological father at the time of the child’s birth, or for parents to disagree about custody and child support once paternity has been established. If you are a parent with a complicated paternity case, you need a skilled lawyer. The outcome of your case could have a profound effect on your life and the life of your child; make sure you have the qualified legal counsel you deserve.
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our Boston paternity lawyer can help you to establish paternity and navigate the family law system when it comes to seeking a child custody or child support order, too. To schedule a consultation with our skilled lawyer, please call us at (617) 903-8955 today. You can also tell us more about your case by sending us a brief message at your convenience.