A father petitioning for paternity needs to have a full understanding of the legal process. Fathers who are unmarried in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can establish paternity in two ways.
The first route is a voluntary process that utilizes a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. This is a document signed by both the child’s mother and father confirming the signing male is the legal father. This form is typically presented to the parents at the hospital when the child is born.
The second route is through an involuntary process which involves filing a complaint to establish paternity. However, if the mother was married to someone else when the child was born or conceived, the husband must be served with a complaint and summons before the petitioning father can file a complaint to establish paternity.
If the husband signs an Affidavit of Nonpaternity, he will not have to appear in court and a judge can use genetic marker tests to determine the biological father. The biological mother, the man claiming parentage and the child will each submit to DNA testing.
Once paternity is established, the child is entitled to support from both parents. Parents may come to their own settlement on custody and visitation or seek a court ruling if an agreement cannot be made.
Petitioning for paternity rights can be a complicated legal matter. If you need guidance on how to proceed with paternity, guardianship, or custody, you need me, an attorney who know the legal system inside and out. I’m here to help you navigate this often-complicated process.