April 22, 2018


In Massachusetts, paternity cases establish the rights of unmarried parents of a child born out of wedlock.  Paternity, custody, parenting arrangements, child support, medical insurance and visitation are addressed in these types of actions.

An unmarried mother is presumed to have custody of a child until a court issues an order or judgment relative to custody.  Even if an unmarried father is listed on the birth certificate, absent a court order, the mother has custody of the child.  If an unmarried Father is not listed on the birth certificate and has not executed along with the mother an acknowledgment of paternity, he does not have any legal rights to the child.  Therefore, if an unmarried father wishes to assert his right to visitation, support or custody of his child, he must file an action to establish and assert his paternity rights.