Establishing Rights Through Paternity
In the past, the courts often favored mothers in child custody, visitation and child support proceedings. Today, the importance of fathers in the life of a child is understood by the courts. Through paternity actions, fathers can assert their rights and play a more integral part in the lives of their children.
At The Law Offices of Bailey & Burke, we represent clients in paternity proceedings in Worcester County. To speak to an attorney regarding your paternity, child custody, child support or related issue, please call 978-368-0983 or contact us online.
When Is It Necessary To Establish Paternity?
In Massachusetts, establishing paternity is important for individuals in the following circumstances:
- When a child is born out of wedlock and the father is not designated on the birth certificate: Our law firm routinely assists clients with genetic testing to establish paternity. Once established, we address issues of child custody, visitation, finances, health insurance and other matters.
- When a child is born to an unmarried couple, but the father is named on the birth certificate: In this case, there is no need to establish paternity, but rather an “action to establish support, custody and visitation.”
When a child is born to an unmarried couple and the father is not named on the birth certificate, the mother is assumed to be the sole legal and physical custodian of the child.
Once parentage has been legally determined, child support can be enforced. In Massachusetts, child support is determined according to child support guidelines. This considers the gross income of each parent, health care costs of the child, cost of child care, either parent’s prior child support obligations to other children, and other factors. Sometimes the father named on the birth certificate, whether the couple is married or not, later finds out the child is not biologically his. In that circumstance, the father may be able to bring an action to remove his obligation for further support.