Representing Unmarried Parents in Custody and Support Cases
A child has a right to support regardless of whether his parents were married. Similarly, an unmarried father has a right to have regular visits with his child.
I am Eileen Agnes, a family law attorney serving clients in Framingham and the Metro West area of Massachusetts. I represent both married and unmarried parents in child custody and support cases. The difference for unmarried parents is that their rights must first be established through a paternity action.
How Paternity is Established
If both parties agree who the father of the child is, then Massachusetts courts will accept that and establish paternity accordingly. DNA testing is only ordered if the two parties do not agree who the father is. DNA testing can be used to both establish and dis-establish the paternity of a child.
Once paternity is established by way of a court order, then the father will be ordered to pay child support according to Massachusetts' guidelines. The father's child support obligation is retroactive to the child's date of birth. If the parents wait a long time before establishing paternity, then the father could owe a significant amount of child support.
While paternity actions are usually initiated by the mother in order to obtain child support, they may also be initiated by the father after the mother has cut off child visits following the breakup of a relationship. Once paternity has been established, the father is entitled to visitation. He may also be entitled to claim the child on his tax returns and have the child use his name.
Free Lawyer Consultation
If you are dealing with a child support or custody issues outside of marriage, I offer a free initial consultation at my law office in Framingham. To schedule an appointment with me, attorney Eileen Agnes, call 508.879.9876 or fill out the contact form on this Web site.