Becoming a father means being responsible for the life of someone other than just yourself. In addition to the new obligation to provide for your child, you will experience the joy and love that comes from bringing a new life into the world.
For those who do not have a formal relationship with the mother of their child, it can be hard to assert themselves and their rights regarding the child. As an unmarried father in Massachusetts, you have the right to spend time with your child, even if you don’t have a romantic relationship with the mother. You will need to establish your paternity in order to enforce your rights to spend time with your kid.
Establishing paternity is easiest with the mom’s help
The simplest way to establish yourself as the parent of a child is to have your name included on the birth certificate. If the mother didn’t list you at the time of birth, you can always ask her to execute an affidavit affirming you as the father.
However, in order to use the easiest route to establish yourself as the dad, the mother has to agree to work with you. She will likely have the right to seek child support and shared parenting time which can offer her respite from her maternal duties, so she may choose to work with you. If she does not, you will have to ask the courts for help.
The courts can order genetic testing
In the event that the mother does not agree to acknowledge you as the parent, you may have no choice but to ask the courts to intervene. The courts can compel the mother to present the child for genetic testing, thereby validating or disproving your claim to paternity.