Whether in Massachusetts or the world over, most parents have their child’s best interests at heart. Often, parents who are cooperating responsibly to work out a schedule with shared parenting time or frequent visitation for the non-custodial parent feel they can figure things out for themselves. Many believe there is no need to seek legal counsel on the issue of child custody. Unfortunately, this is not typically the case.
For example, in a situation where the father’s name is not on the child’s birth certificate, even if he takes full responsibility for the child’s medical bills and assists financially in all the child’s needs, the father has no proof paternity. This would mean that the father would have no legal authority to make decisions for his child, whether they were of a medical nature or even just something as simple as day care. In addition, in the unforeseen event that the father passed away, his lack of legal custody rights could make it very difficult for his child to inherit.
Generally speaking, it is in the best interests of all parties involved to go through the legal process of establishing paternity. Even when both parents are committed to an amicable relationship with shared responsibility for child rearing, legally establishing child custody arrangements and visitation rights, as well as financial support, is usually the best course of action. The court typically respects the parents’ wishes for a custody arrangement if both parties are in agreement.
In such situations, many Massachusetts parents find it beneficial to seek the legal counsel of an attorney with experience in child custody matters. Whether the relationship between the parents is amicable or not, a lawyer can offer valuable advice to make sure the custody arrangement process goes as smoothly as possible. In going through official channels and seeking legal advice, all parties are more likely to reach an agreement that is satisfactory and in the best interests of everyone involved.
Source: kplctv.com, “Legal Corner: My son’s name is not on his baby’s birth certificate. What are his legal obligations?“, Erik Tyger, Nov. 2, 2016