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Establishing Paternity

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When a Child is Born Outside of Marriage

Massachusetts Paternity Lawyer

If a child is born out of wedlock and the parties are living together and the child’s father is properly identified on the child’s birth certificate, then a Complaint to Establish Paternity is probably not necessary. Otherwise, either parent may initiate a Court proceeding by way of a Complaint to Establish Paternity for the purpose of having an acknowledgement or adjudication of paternity made by the Court.


Children born to parents who are not married to each other shall be entitled to the same rights and protections of the law as all other children. Accordingly, a Complaint to Establish Paternity in addition to determining who the father of the child is, can also establish Orders for child support, custody, visitation, health insurance, uninsured medical expenses and education. After a Complaint to Establish Paternity is filed, the Court, on motion of either party, can order DNA/Genetic Marker Testing, the results of which are usually expressed as a statistical probability. If the report of such tests indicate a statistical probability of paternity of 97% or greater, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the putative father is the father of such child.

 If a party refuses to submit to a Genetic Marker Test, the refusal shall be admissible and the Court may draw an adverse inference from such refusal. If during the probable period of conception, the mother of the child was married to someone other than the putative father, the Court may still order Genetic Marker Testing after notice has been provided to the spouse or former spouse of mother. In a Paternity proceeding, the Court may also award past or retroactive support from the time of birth until the Temporary or Permanent Order goes into effect. 

Whether you need to establish paternity or are trying to fight it, at the Wright Family Law Group we have the knowledge and the experience to help you effectively present your case. 

Putting off the inevitable is not going to help you – it will only hurt your case. 

Call us today to discuss your own personal situation and let us see how we can help.