Mothers are automatically granted full parental rights at the time of the child’s birth as, unlike with fathers, there is never any doubt about whether a mother is a child’s biological parent. For fathers, on the other hand, parents must be married at the time of a child’s birth for the father to be granted paternity, or both parents must sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form if the parents are unmarried, or the court can issue an order of paternity following genetic testing. 

For unmarried fathers who are unsure about whether or not they should establish paternity, as well as unmarried mothers, it’s important to know that establishing paternity in Massachusetts has numerous benefits. Consider the following advantages of establishing paternity for all parties in the case–the father, the mother, and the child–and call the Law Office of Heather M. Ward if you have questions about how to get started.

The Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts

All parties in a paternity case benefit when paternity is established in Massachusetts. Here’s how–

Benefits to the father

If a father does not establish paternity in Massachusetts, then they have no legal parental rights. This means that the father cannot request custody of or visitation time with their child, nor can they legally participate in the decision-making process regarding the child’s life. If the father and the mother disagree about what is best for the child, the child’s mother is the one who will be granted legal recognition. This can be frustrating for a father, as well as emotionally devastating for a father who wants to see their child, but is lawfully being denied access by the child’s mother. 

Benefits to the mother

Establishing paternity is also a benefit for a child’s mother. While a father does not have any legal rights until paternity is established, a mother also will not have the right to seek child support from the child’s father, request access to the father’s health information (like family health history) on the behalf of the child, or seek any benefits on the father’s record, such as health insurance for the child. As such, establishing paternity is a win-win for both the father and the mother. 

Benefits to the child

Perhaps the party who benefits the most when paternity is established is the child. To begin, establishing paternity forms both a legal and a symbolic relationship between the child and the father. It allows the father’s name to be put on the child’s birth certificate, which may provide the child with a greater sense of identity and an understanding of their family history; all children have a right to know who their parents are. A child will also be able to seek benefits on a father’s record, as well as be a beneficiary of the father’s estate through intestate succession laws. 

Take the First Steps to Establish Paternity Today

If you are an unmarried mother or an unmarried father and you are interested in establishing paternity, please call the Law Office of Heather M. Ward today. Attorney Heather M. Ward can help you to understand the pathways for establishing paternity, and can handle your case from start to finish. Reach us today at (617) 903-8955 to schedule a consultation.