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Paternity Archives

Unequal Rights For Children Born Out of Wedlock in Massachusetts

Record numbers of children in Massachusetts are being born out of wedlock, butHeart - peace sign.jpg few parents stop to understand the legal implications. Sociologists suggest the increased numbers of children being born out of wedlock is caused by an American attitude that marriage is less important than it once was.

Fathers: Why You Need to Sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

Whether you are in an unmarried partnership, are in the midst of a divorce, or areFather and son 1.jpg planning to re-marry in the near future and share a child with someone else, paternity establishment is important in Massachusetts. It ensures your rights as a parent are protected and that your child's rights are protected as well. Without establishing paternity, your child's medical and financial benefits might be at stake, and your parenting privileges can be compromised.

Thinking Ahead: Pre-birth Custody and Parenting in Massachusetts

Sonogram.jpgWhen parents aren't living together as a child's birth approaches, the family may benefit from having pre-birth orders spelling out what will happen at the hospital and beyond. Pre-birth orders sought in Massachusetts help preserve a calm environment for the child's arrival and keep the hospital from having to play referee between the parents. Pre-birth orders can allocate authority for medical decisions starting from birth, ensure that both parents have a chance to hold the baby and enjoy opportunities for bonding, and include a plan for the baby's care on release from the hospital.

New Prenatal Paternity Test Could Lead to Legal Changes

The issue of paternity is an important one. Not only does it matter emotionally, but it is also an incredibly important legal (and financial) issue that impacts significant rights and obligations. In cases where paternity is not definitively known, determining who the father is as quickly as possible can be crucially important.

When Can Paternity Be Established

Under G.L. chapter 209C, § 14, the mother, but not the father is allowed to file a court case while she is pregnant. Paternity, however cannot be legally established until the child is born even though the father and the mother-to-be agreed verbally or in writing that she is  pregnant with his child. 

Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts

The laws and procedures governing adjudication of paternity disputes as to children born out of wedlock is governed by M.G.L. chapter 209C. The underlying policy of this chapter is that "children born to parents who are not married to each other shall be entitled to the same rights and protections of the law as all other children."

Child Support in Paternity Proceedings

Massachusetts General Law chapter 209C governs the laws and procedures governing adjudication of paternity disputes as to children born out of wedlock.   The underlying policy of chapter 209C is that "children born to parents who are not married to each other shall be entitled to the same rights and protections of the law as all other children."  The purpose of G.L. 209C is to provide a procedure for adjudication of paternity, and "to have an order for support and to have a declaration relative to their custody or visitation rights."

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