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Paternity

My wife and I were not married at the time my youngest daughter was born. My wife had not been divorced for more than 300 days from the birth of my youngest daughter. After 2 years, we are finally looking at getting her birth certificate and social security card, but it will have the presumed father's name on my childs ceertificate. We are leaving to go to the military. Once we move out of state, can my wife still file for paternity or DNA test to prove to the courts that I am the father to have her BC changed? Do we have to do it through MA? Any information helps.

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Submitted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:25

Massachusetts has jurisdiction over paternity cases where the mother and the child has lived for 6 months or more. If you move to another state, that state will not have jurisdiction over the matter. In addition, if the ex-husband still lives here, he may be able to have the MA state retain jurisdiction over the case as the child was born here.

In your case ONLY the mother can file to establish your paternity. You, as the bio-dad, have no rights if legally the child has another father. The mother can file a complaint to establish paternity as you and not the ex. Either the father must sign an Affidavit of non-paternity that is submitted with the complaint, or he must be served with the summons and complaint and be given a chance to contest the paternity. The father may be willing to sign the affidavit, as if you are adjudicated to be the father it would terminate not only his rights, but any obligation to pay child support. If his rights are not terminated, you can file for child support and he must pay it.

You can see more info on the process here: http://www.masslegalhelp.org/children-and-families/establishing-paternity

Atty. David Owens



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