There are two ways to establish paternity. The parents can file a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage with the court, or a complaint can be filed in the family court seeking an adjudication of paternity.

Both parents are required by law to support their children. Massachusetts’ law requires support of children of divorced or unmarried couples through age 18; age 21 if the child remains principally dependent on the parent; and in some cases 23 if the child is attending college.

Paternity actions are filed in the Probate and Family Court. Once a complaint is filed, the court will seek to establish paternity either through both parents acknowledging paternity or through a paternity test.

Similar to divorce actions, discovery can be conducted, financial statements will be exchanged, and a trial can be held on some or all of the issues. The parties can enter into a written agreement on all issues, or put the outstanding issues before the court. It is then up to the judge to award custody, determine visitation, order child support, and establish any other orders in the best interest of the child.

This site is for advertising purposes. These materials have been prepared for informational purposes and not as legal advice.