If the father and mother of the child are married, the father automatically has custody rights to the child. However, the same is not true for a father who has a child out of wedlock. This is because determining parentage can be more difficult for fathers than mothers. However, it is doable, especially with help from the right attorney.
How to Establish Paternity
Establishing paternity is the first step toward gaining custody of your child.
You can establish paternity in one of two ways:
- Many fathers sign a Declaration of Paternity upon the birth of their child. This document is necessary if you want your name on the child’s birth certificate.
- Some fathers complete an affidavit of paternity. This can be completed at any time (before the child turns 18) and will effectively place your name on the child’s birth certificate.
Massachusetts custody laws are governed by the standard of what’s in the child’s best interest. This means any decisions made regarding child custody and/or visitation will be based on the needs of the child. Each parent has an equal opportunity to gain full or shared custodial rights over the child, as determined by the presiding judge. There is not a set list of criteria for determining a child’s best interests; rather, judges use their own discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Contact the Barach Law Group LLC
If you are going through a custody issue with the mother of your child and need to establish your father’s rights, our attorneys are here for you. We can help guide you through the child custody process to find the best solution for you and your child.