Some residents of Massachusetts may wish to learn more about how paternity testing is conducted in the state. Cases in which the paternity of a child is disputed may be resolved through genetic testing to determine parentage.
Many Massachusetts parents are ecstatic when the time comes to welcome a child into the world. However, there are cases where it may not be known who the father of the child is. If a man was assumed to be the father but evidence suggests that this is not the case, either party can challenge paternity.
Some Massachusetts residents who are questioning paternity may be interested in the way it is established. Paternity testing uses DNA from the parents and the child to establish or disprove biological fatherhood. If paternity is proven, the father will be given the rights and responsibilities due him. If not, the father is not legally responsible for the care and sustenance of the child.
In Massachusetts, unmarried parents can sign an agreement that establishes the identity of the legal father if both parties agree or if either party asks the court to do so. The easiest way is for the parties to sign a form, called the voluntary acknowledgement of parentage. No court action is needed, and they can complete the documents at the hospital, through their city or town clerk, or at the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. In the latter location, the process can be conducted via mail. At the hospital, the parents will not need to pay, but there is a fee associated with filing the paperwork in the other two situations. However, if either parent is uncertain about whom the biological father is, they should ask the court for a paternity test.
Many mothers and fathers in Massachusetts do not wish to have to go the legal route to determine the paternity of a child. However, it is often necessary in order to protect the child or to obtain financial assistance in caring for the child. For mothers who hope to get child support from the biological father of their child, establishing paternity is necessary. This is exactly what one woman has done with the paternity claim she has filed.
DNA testing is used frequently today to determine paternity. A paternity order that is entered against a father is part of imposing a child support order. The issue of paternity can be very complex. Whether fathers wish to be established as the biological father of a child and maintain an ongoing relationship together with the child, or if a paternity order is entered against a father as part of imposing a child support order, help can be found on either side of the case in Massachusetts.