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How establishing paternity affects a father's rights

In order for a man to gain rights to a child in Massachusetts, he must first establish paternity. This is typically done through genetic testing to determine if he is the biological father.

The IV-D agency may order a genetic marker test for a mother, putative father and child if either the mother or putative father submits an affidavit that states that intercourse occurred between the two during the probable period of conception. If someone is already presumed to be the child's father, such as in the case that he is married to the child's mother or has voluntarily acknowledged paternity, the IV-D agency may not order a genetic marker test. The presumed father may request one, however. Once the results of the test are determined, the parents have the opportunity to voluntarily acknowledge parentage.

After determining that a man is in fact the child's biological father, he can pursue rights to the child, such as custody and visitation. Should he be granted legal custody, he then will be able to participate in decisions about the child's life such as where the child is to attend school as well as decisions about medical care. He may also then be required to begin making child support payments.

An individual who wishes to gain custody or visitation rights to a child may wish to work with a family law attorney experienced in fathers' rights cases. An attorney may help a client in submitting the required documents and representing them in court proceedings.

Source: General Court of Massachusetts, "Section 3AEstablishment of paternity; genetic marker tests", October 02, 2014

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