Hanover Paternity Lawyers

Establishing paternity can be a straightforward process when both parents want to be and desire the other to be involved in their child’s life. However, when the parents’ beliefs about what is best for their child do not align, this process can become more challenging.

In Massachusetts, when a married couple has a child, the husband is presumed to be the legal father and is immediately granted legal custody over that child. When a child is born to an unmarried couple, however, the law does not make this presumption, and only the mother has the legal right to the child until a Court orders otherwise. This can lead to disputes between parents about the rights and obligations of each party.

A Hanover paternity lawyer from our firm can help with the legal process of establishing or confirming the identity of a child’s father and helping him obtain legal rights for that child. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our team has the knowledge and skill to handle any paternity challenges that may arise in a specific case.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Hanover

Establishing paternity creates a legal relationship between a father and his child. One of the most notable benefits to creating this legal relationship is a father’s ability to obtain certain parenting rights, such as custody or visitation. However, establishing paternity also initiates parental obligations as well.

One of the most significant responsibilities is the obligation to financially provide for the child. This could be important in situations where a mother is seeking financial support from her child’s father. After determining the identity of her child’s father, she could petition for child support and would not have to worry about financially providing for her child alone. A Hanover attorney can explain the various benefits of establishing paternity in a particular case.

Other benefits to establishing paternity would be that the child can qualify for public and private benefits through the father, be eligible to inherit from the father, and, that if anything were to happen to the mother, the father would be able to take custody of the child and care for the child without having to seek court intervention first.

The Legal Presumption of Paternity

State law presumes that when a child is born to a married couple, the husband is the legal father. In this situation, the husband’s name will be listed on the child’s birth certificate. If the husband knows he is not the child’s biological father, he must sign a denial of paternity and the biological father must sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity.

The paternity process is different if an unmarried woman has a child. In this case, the father’s name is not automatically put on the birth certificate. If the father’s name is not put on the birth certificate, the parties would need to establish paternity legally. Because the legal process for demonstrating paternity can be complicated, it may be in a party’s best interests to seek assistance from an experienced lawyer in Hanover. 

How Do Parents Establish Paternity?

There are two ways to establish paternity in Massachusetts. The first is done with both parents’ agreement and the father signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity. The second involves a court proceeding where a DNA test will be conducted to determine who the biological father is.

If a father signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity when the child is born, he only has 60 days to request that a court cancel or rescind the paternity acknowledgment. After that, it can be very difficult to undo, even if you find out later that you are not the actual biological father.

Unless you are extremely certain that you are the father, you should not sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity before you confirm the child is biologically yours. An attorney in Hanover could determine which process for establishing paternity is most suitable on a case-by-case basis.