Massachusetts Paternity

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

It is presumed in most states that if a couple are married the husband is the legal father of any children born during the marriage. But, when a couple is not married the child has no legal father. So, now comes paternity. Paternity just means the legal father of a child.

You may now be wondering how you can show proof that the alleged father is the father of your child and should step up and take on his responsibilities as a parent. You could also be the father and wish to have your share of parental rights and are afraid that the mother may not allow you to see your child.

If both parents are in agreement to the fatherhood of the child and they are not married they can show paternity in three different ways that are very simple. At the hospital when the child is born, both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage. If you sign this form while you are still in the hospital you will not have to pay any type of fees. At the City or Town clerk’s office you can also sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage. This form will be notarized and they may charge a fee. If neither one of these options can be met, you can fill a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage any time by filling out the form, and mailing it to the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. There is a $25 fee that should be sent with the form. In this last way, the form can be sent at any time during the child life.

After, this form is filed, there is a type of grace period before it becomes legal. This is the time that if either parent decides the father is in fact not the biological father of the child; either person can file in Probate and Family Court to have the acknowledgment rescinded. When the 60 days are up, the father becomes the legal father of the child and must pay child support, has parental rights and will be able to visit with the child. After the 60 days grace period, a person can still question the parentage up to one year, but you will need a very good reason and will more than likely have to undergo a paternity test to prove otherwise.

A paternity test can be done by either blood test or DNA testing. DNA testing is really very simple and pain free. A cotton swab is used to extract saliva from the alleged father, the mother and the child. You can also ask the court for a paternity test before you sign any type of parentage agreements.

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