No matter their nature, family law cases impact what we cherish most—our family ties, our children, our finances, and our future. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is vital to ensuring that a difficult and complex process goes as smoothly as possible.
At the Law Offices of Erica M. Foster, we help you navigate every step of your divorce, child custody, alimony, or paternity matter with patience and perseverance. While we prefer to use a non-adversarial approach to resolving family law matters, Erica is an accomplished and zealous trial lawyer who is not afraid to take cases to court.
When it comes to exercising parental rights, establishing paternity in the eyes of the law is essential. The Law Offices of Erica M. Foster provides experienced counsel to unmarried fathers and alleged fathers who wish to establish paternity and maintain a relationship with their child. We also support mothers who are seeking financial support from the father of their child. Erica can help you understand the requirements of establishing paternity and the Massachusetts laws that govern your ability to file a paternity action.
Where paternity of the child is in question, any party with an interest may ask the court to determine paternity of one or several potential fathers (called putative father) based initially upon sworn statements and then upon testimony, including but not limited to: sexual relations by the mother with a man other than the putative father, lack of access to the mother by the putative father during the same time period, scientific proof showing the likelihood of putative father being genetically related, and other admissible evidence that may tend to establish paternity such as statements against interest made by the putative father.
Generally, hospital records and birth certificate are not sufficient to offset this presumption of lawful paternity. A successful application to the court results in an Order of Filiation (not all states refer to it as "Filiation"), and assigning paternity to a specific man. The biological father now must support the child and may also, generally speaking, have visitation with the child. In a marriage where the biological father is unknown or without financial means, the court may find the husband responsible for support of the child.
A child born to the husband and wife prior to the marriage usually becomes a child of the marriage when the marriage is performed. This was the old rule from Canon law, but at common law retroactive legitimacy was not conferred on a child by the marriage of the parents after the child was conceived; a matter of some import when inheritance was at issue. The different rules have largely been abrogated in the United States by a series of judicial decrees or legislation curtailing or diminishing the disabilities of bastardy.
Establishing paternity is the critical first step in collecting child support. When legal paternity is established, a child has the right to the father's Social Security or veteran's benefits, medical coverage, pensions and inheritance. Also, the medical genetic information of both parents is available for the child if needed for diagnosis and treatment of medical problems.
Some of the Massachusetts cities and towns we provide legal services to are: Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Hamilton, Lynnfield, Manchester, Marblehead, Middleton, North Reading, Peabody, Salem, Topsfield and Wenham MA.
Law Office of Erica M. Foster
Law Office of Erica M. Foster
491 Maple Street #204
Danvers, MA 01923