How do I Establish Paternity without a Court Order?
If the parents are not married but both parties agree that the alleged father is in fact the father; there is something called a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage” it is a form that can be executed and avoids DNA testing in determining paternity. It is very important document to sign and it has legal rights and responsibilities for both the biological father as well as the mother. It is a significant decision to make.
In Massachusetts the parent can only have 60 days to request the paternity; which is a DNA after the acknowledgment has been executed. There are exceptions; including if there is a custody or child support hearing less than 60 days from the acknowledgement, then you will only have until that hearing date to attempt to rescind or demand a DNA test. After the 60 days, there is a limited scope in terms of the ability to look to rescind the acknowledgment of paternity. This can be done as if there is acknowledgement of fraud, duress and materialistic of fact. After one (1) year even if there is proof to be true, this becomes unavailable as well. It is extremely important that somebody takes in to consideration whether to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and understands their strict timelines even if they are in fact not the father because most of the time it would be considered a binding agreement.
In Massachusetts what happens if there is a mistaken identity about the Father?
In paternity cases, a DNA test determine parentage or who is the father, but timing again is critical even if is it a case of mistaken identity. If the parties have acknowledged paternity by a Voluntarily Acknowledgement form then have learned that there may be a different father; the parties can seek to change the Acknowledgement through the court with some very limited time periods. The party must then file a complaint to establish paternity naming who they believe the father to be is and time is very crucial, it needs to be less than 60 days; or prior to any court hearing unless there is some significant misrepresentation or fraud. After one-year passes, the Judgment establishing paternity will become final and very difficult if not impossible to change.