Mansfield Paternity Lawyers
Legal Issues With Paternity in Bristol County & Beyond
Being a parent is likely the most significant commitment you will ever make. If your life is about to change, you want to make sure you get real answers first.
The Ostendorf Law Group, PLLC, is known for helping Massachusetts families get honest answers and make tough decisions. We protect the rights of both mothers and alleged fathers involved in paternity disputes.
Do you want to talk to one of our attorneys? It costs nothing. Simply complete our contact form, and a Mansfield paternity lawyer from our office will contact you promptly. Alternatively, you can also give us a call at (508) 593-1408.
What Is Paternity?
Paternity is defined as 'legal fatherhood' by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR).
If a child's parents are married, paternity is automatically established for the husband, and he becomes the child's legal father. If a child's parents are unmarried, paternity needs to be determined via a DNA test.
Establishing paternity is important for a couple of reasons:
- A child's paternal father receives parental rights and becomes entitled to make decisions for their child they otherwise couldn't. From medical treatment to education, several decisions can only be made by a child's legal parents (unless they have none, in which case those decisions are passed over to a legal guardian).
- A child's paternal father must help raise their child in some way. Frequently, mothers who are unmarried to the father of their child or are estranged from their child's father want to establish paternity because doing so helps them establish a custody and support arrangement with the father. Receiving support from the paternal father can allow mothers to raise their children more successfully, even if the father never becomes more involved in the child's life.
- For fathers unaware of their child, or fathers who may be estranged from their child's mother, establishing paternity can be an avenue towards involvement in the child's life. If the father wants to contribute to the child's life, or would want to but is unaware of their parental status, establishing paternity is an essential step towards integrating the father into their child's life.
- Knowing a child's medical history can be critically important. If the father is genetically predisposed to issues such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, or heart disease, that's useful information for the child. Understanding the father's medical history can allow the custodial parent (or guardian, if applicable) to make decisions that better reflect the long-term health of the child.
How Can I Establish Paternity?
There's only one way to resolve a paternity dispute: get a DNA test. Whether you are a new mother or a potential father, we can help you take legal action so that you can get a paternity test.
Typically, you'll also work with the Massachusetts DOR to help establish paternity. The DOR has access to information such as full legal names, social security numbers, and address information that allows them to locate individuals quickly. If you wish to establish paternity but don't know where the father currently resides, the DOR can help you get the information you need to request a DNA test from the father. The DOR can also help you negotiate with your child's father to arrive at a child support arrangement, and has the power to reduce the father's benefits if they refuse.
Once you have an answer from a certifiable DNA test, you will finally be able to put your questions aside and start looking for solutions for your family.
In most cases, getting a DNA test is only the first step. Once you know the results, you want to come up with a plan for your family moving forward. For example, the child may be entitled to benefits such as social security, pension, and veterans benefits, depending on the father's occupation.
Whatever the results of your test, we can help you find legal solutions. If you now know the father of your child, we can help you secure child support payments. If you just found out that you are a father, we will make sure your parental rights are protected.
Don't Wait to Get a Paternity Test
If you are unsure whether you are ready to take this step, we are happy to talk to you face to face and discuss your options. We offer a free initial consultation so you can find out more about your legal rights and responsibilities without any obligation.
Unsure of Your Next Step? Our Compassionate Attorneys in Bristol County Can Help.
We represent mothers and potential fathers across Massachusetts involved in paternity disputes. Meet you team! Contact us online, or give us a call at (508) 593-1408 for your free consultation from a paternity attorney serving Bristol County.
We have a heavy litigation background & winning success record.
We offer a flat-fee service for all budgets.
We create personalized strategies to meet your needs.
We are accessible - when you hire us, you get us day or night.