Paternity Attorneys – Andover, MA
Whether their parents are married, divorced, or never married, all children are entitled to the same rights and protection.
CHILDREN BORN OF A MARRIAGE
In regards to Paternity, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if the child was born while the man was married to the mother or within three hundred days after the marriage was terminated by death, annulment or divorce. A man who is or was married to the child’s mother has an obligation to provide financial support for his child. Also, absent misconduct, he has the right to visitation or parenting time with his child.
Should you suspect that you are not the father of a child born during your marriage, consult an attorney immediately since your rights and obligations can vary depending on your situation.
Presumption of parentage is the same for same-sex couples. However, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced Family Law attorney such as Patricia S. Fernandez if you are part of a divorcing same-sex couple and have questions regarding your rights as presumptive parent.
CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK
The parties must file an Acknowledgment of Parentage with the court, town clerk or registrar of vital deeds and statistics before the father’s name will be recorded on the child’s Birth Certificate. Once this is done, the non-custodial parent is required by law to provide child support until the child is emancipated. In addition, the non-custodial parent will have the right to visitation or parenting time with the child.
If either party wishes to establish paternity, he or she may file a Complaint for Paternity with the Probate and Family Court and have it served on the other party. A motion for Genetic Marker Test may be filed. The parties will then receive a court date and a judge will likely order a DNA test to establish parentage if the issue remains contested. If there is an Adjudication of Paternity, the non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay child support until the child is emancipated and will gain the right to visitation or parenting time with the child.
A non-custodial parent may file a Complaint for Custody of the child. The Complaint can ask the court to grant shared or sole legal or physical custody of the child. If a non-custodial parent is granted shared legal custody, it gives him or her the authority to assist in making decisions about the child’s medical care, welfare and choice of schools. If a non-custodial parent is granted sole or shared physical custody, the amount of child support can change. An experienced family law attorney can help you to make an informed decision.