Skip to main content

I'm Married but my Husband is not the Father of my Child; What Now?

In Massachusetts there is a presumption that a child born of a woman who is married, or was married in the last three hundred days before the child's birth, is the child of that woman's husband. This is a legal presumption and can be rebutted by evidence.

If you are filing a Paternity Complaint and the mother was married at the time of the child's birth, or in the last three hundred days before the child's birth, then the Court requires that you use a different form and that you include the Husband as a Defendant in the action. Usually a DNA test will be performed to confirm that the Husband is not the Father (which is typically sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption) and then the action can proceed similar to any other Paternity action.

This is apparently not the case in every state, as evidenced by a recent case in Michigan where a biological Father was denied parental rights because his child was born to a married couple, and Michigan law designated the Husband as the Father. According to this ABA article, the only way to overcome this presumption in Michigan is in a dispute between the Husband and Wife, so the Father had no standing. I tend to agree with the Father's lawyer who was quoted as claiming this ruling was "absurd."


Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann . Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?" I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “W