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Wellesley Family Law Blog

Your paternity rights: The right to your child in Massachusetts

Paternity is an important factor in raising a child. To the courts, it makes the difference between visitation and custody rights along with the child support payments you'd need to make. Establishing paternity is vital, because without it, you have few rights as a parent.

Paternity has to be established if you weren't married at the time of your child's birth. You may also choose to seek a paternity test if you were and are unsure that the child is yours. You can establish your paternity in one of two ways. Either seek a court order or sign a voluntary acknowledgement of being the child's father.

Paternity: Your rights as a father or to not be a father

Are you the father of a child or want to know if you're the father of a child? In many situations, you may want to prove your paternity or lack of paternity for a child. You can voluntarily affirm that you're a child's father, but you may also want to have paternity established through a test ordered by the court in Massachusetts.

There are several reasons to make sure you know your rights and have paternity proven. For one thing, if you're not with the mother of the child romantically and it's only been claimed that the child is yours, you may want to have a test completed to make sure you're only paying child support for a child who is truly yours.

What people regret about divorce in Massachusetts

Before deciding to go forward with a divorce in Massachusetts, people may wonder what they are going to regret when all is said and done. Even if they know that the divorce is the best option in their situation, they are still going to be curious about it. Well, thanks to a recent report that came out about secrets that people shared -- their names were not attached -- it is now possible to see what people regret the most.

Not surprisingly, many of the regrets centered around their children.

Access child support: Non-married couples in Massachusetts

Would you know how to approach someone who you weren't married to about child support? Child support for non-married parents can be a difficult point of contention for parents; it's necessary for a child to have the financial support he needs, but how much should a parent pay or receive? In some cases, one parent could feel like he or she's paying too much, or the other one could feel like he or she's not receiving enough. No matter which side you happen to be on, there are legal avenues to seek what you want.

In Massachusetts, your child support payments are based on guidelines. Judges have some discretion as far as the amounts you'll pay or receive go, but typically, there is a formula that is followed. Things that the judge will consider include the income of the mother and father, the number of children needing to be supported, the cost of medical insurance and the custody arrangements.

How do you see what child support you received in Massachusetts?

Knowing the amount of child support coming into your bank account is important if you're the sole or primary custodian of your child. If you're entitled to $300, you want to know that you've received all of that money, since your child's other parent should be providing some compensation to care for your child.

To determine if you've been receiving the child support you're entitled to, you need to do a little math. You are probably receiving child support checks for different amount each week, and that can be difficult to track. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue offers a calculation worksheet, or you can compare the amount you've been ordered to receive by the court by the amounts showing up via check or direct deposit.

Divorces in Massachusetts: How much will you spend?

How much does a divorce really cost? There are several factors, but reports have indicated that the generally accepted average is between $15,000 and $20,000. Essentially, you'll be paying as much as you did to get married to divorce; maybe even more.

There are some options out there that are cheaper, but of course, those rely on your good relationship with your ex. For instance, there are places that tote a $299 divorce, but in those cases, you'd have to already know the terms of your divorce and only need a lawyer to sign off on them. That's highly unlikely, which is why it's simply not practical and not the norm.

Duchovny and Leoni split finalized; Leoni gains spousal support

If you're interested in celebrity news, then you might have heard about the finalization of the divorce of David Duchovny and Tea Leoni. An Aug. 9 report stated that the pair officially split up around three years ago, but Duchovny only filed for divorce in June 2014. Now, that divorce has been finalized in the courts, leaving the two to go their separate ways.

The couple has two children that they've had to provide for in their marriage and now through their divorce. They will allegedly share joint legal custody, but Leoni will be the primary custodian of the children; this could be due to Duchovny's addictive past or due to his workload on "Californication."

People risk fraud to help others avoid child support

A very strange new industry, one that runs the risk of bringing about fraud charges, has sprung up on the Internet. People are using popular garage sale websites and auction sites to put up listings to sell off lottery tickets that have proven to be losers. One man from Massachusetts even advertised --complete with a photo for proof -- that he had two entire boxes of these losing tickets. They appear to be scratch off tickets.

Those who buy these tickets can then use them if they want to write off lottery losses. These losses can then be represented as their own, and it can help them if they want to pay less than they should in child support. The buyers are typically lottery winners who want to balance out what they have won with a lot of fake losses so that not as much can be claimed if they owe back child support or debts for other types of things.

Family law: Adult children matter in late-life divorces

Divorce can be hard on families, but have you considered how it affects children who are now adults? This news report about family law from July 30 talks about how, despite being grown and out of the home, adults can feel the strain of their parents' divorces as well.

In the United States, up to 50 percent of marriages fail. Half of all the children will have to go through that before they are 18, the news states, but just because you turn 18 doesn't mean you no longer have to deal with divorce. Now, older couples are divorcing more often than in the past and children who are now adults are being involved in the split in a different way.

Social media helps locate non-payers of child support

Here's something interesting to think about if you're going through divorce or struggling to get child support from your ex in Massachusetts. Social media is a great way to stay connected, but social media can also be used in court.

According to a story from July 17, one mother reported that she has received only $189 in child support in over three years from her child's father. This is despite the fact that the child is suffering from leukemia.

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