In family law, establishing paternity is defining the legal relationship between a father and child and the associated rights and obligations of the father and child to each other and to others.
Understanding Paternity In Massachusetts
Parents have certain rights and responsibilities for their children, and courts recognize this by awarding visitation rights and child support after a divorce. However, if a child is born out of wedlock, establishing paternity, and therefore parental rights of the father, can be more challenging.
Once a child has left the hospital after birth, the question of paternity can still linger. And when that becomes a problem, you deserve help from a firm with the experience you need. At Koiles Pratt Family Law Group, we have assisted clients throughout the Greater Boston Area with paternity issues.
Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, a child is designated to receive child support and other financial support until the age of emancipation. The age of emancipation could be at the age of 18, 21 or 23, depending on the child’s specific circumstances, including:
- Whether the child is enrolled in school
- Whether the child still lives with and is dependent on a parent
- Whether the child is mentally or physically disabled
When a child’s father is not known at birth, paternity can be established through DNA testing. Once paternity has been established, a father has certain legal rights. He can seek child custody, visitation and other rights through a court order. Fathers are often also granted the right to make decisions about the upbringing of their children, including decisions concerning education, finances, and where they live.