Paternity cases are filed when both parents are not on the child’s birth certificate or there is no voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. The desire to legally establish paternity can arise from a number of circumstances. Perhaps an unmarried couple wishes to create a formal, legal bond between the child and both parents. It could be that a parent wants to prove paternity in order to assert his right to joint legal custody or to obtain parenting time. Maybe the child’s mother needs to establish paternity in order to obtain child support. Whatever your situation, it is important to engage an experienced Massachusetts family lawyer to ensure that your interests and desired outcome are clearly represented.
Elements of Cases Involving Paternity and Unmarried Parents
Cases involving unmarried parents may encompass many different elements, including:
- DNA testing – A technician swabs the cheek of both the child and the putative father, though not necessarily at the same appointment.
- Child custody – The court determines both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody can be sole or joint, and determines who makes decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, and well-being. Physical custody determines with whom the child lives.
- Parenting Time/Visitation – If the parents do not live together, the court can authorize a parenting plan that enables the noncustodial parent to regularly spend time with their child.
- Child support – The noncustodial parent can be ordered to make monthly payments to help offset the costs associated with raising their child
Paternity actions in Massachusetts can also involve less common situations, such as recognizing paternity findings from other states or countries. Whether your circumstances are straightforward or complex, you need a Boston family lawyer by your side. Proving or disproving paternity is a scientific process, but asserting your parental rights is a legal process. The lawyers at Piltser Cowan Law can guide you through every step of a paternity action. Call us to schedule a free consultation.