June 2010 Newsletter




Social networks are a fun and convenient way to communicate with friends and family to keep everyone updated about your life. These networking sites are extremely popular, and it is not unusual for individuals to "network" several times a day.  It is important to remember that you don't know everyone viewing your pictures, page, and/or communications.  Prospective employers, colleges, and numerous individuals routinely visit the networking sites in order to gain a different perspective of the individual who may be applying for a job and/or for college entrance.  It is also becoming a resource for spouses, ex-spouses, attorneys, and others to gather information that may eventually find its way to the courtroom.  If you post pictures, dialogue, or other information on the internet networking sites, be sure the information will not cause an embarrassing problem for you now, or in the future.



At the time of the child's birth, the parents' names are listed on the birth certificate.  In the event the parties are not married, the parties often sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, acknowledging that the father and mother are the child's parents.  Paternity is established as of the date it was signed by each party, and remains in full force and effect unless rescinded within sixty (60) days of that date.


This is particularly important when a father has signed such a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, but does not seek to have genetic marker testing completed at that time.


Genetic marker testing, completed by taking samples from the mother, the child, and the alleged father, will establish with almost certainty whether or not the individual is the father of the child.  Any individual who has any question whatsoever as to whether or not he is the father of the child should have the genetic marker testing completed prior to obligating himself, either formally or informally, before agreeing to pay child support.


In the leading case, Paternity of Cheryl, a father wanted to set aside a judgment of paternity more than five years after he had voluntarily acknowledged paternity.  In that case, the parents had executed an acknowledgment of parentage in which the father stated he was the father of the child.  He stated he understood that signing the acknowledgment would have the effect of a judgment against him, obligating him to support the child.  He signed the acknowledgment as his free act and deed.


In that case, following the entry of the paternity judgment, the father behaved as though he were the child's father, having visitation with his daughter, establishing a relationship with him and with his family.  However, more than five years after he acknowledged paternity, the father for the first time requested genetic marker testing.  The results of the genetic testing indicated that in fact he was not the biological father.  The father alleged the determination of his paternity was based on misleading information, without the benefit of a paternity test of any kind.  While the trial court originally allowed the father's motion for relief from the judgment, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 2001 vacated the order, holding that the father did not request relief within a reasonable period of time.  The Supreme Court did not establish what was a reasonable period of time.  However, it is clear that five years is too late.  While the father may not have been the biological father pursuant to the genetic marker test, he waited too long to properly bring the matter before the court.  As such, his obligations remain in full force and effect to pay child support for the benefit of the child.
Issue: 17

scales of justice

In This Issue
Social Networking Users Beware!
I Am Not The Father, Why Do I Have To Pay Child Support?


For those of you who have cases in Plymouth County that are assigned to Judge Lisa Roberts, please be aware that she is no longer hearing motions on Wednesdays.  Monday is the only day she hears motions.

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Susan C. Ryan, Esq.
Law Office of Susan Castleton Ryan, PC
(781) 982-8850

This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law.  For help with these or any other legal issues, please call our firm today.
The information in this newsletter is intended solely for your information .  It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.