What are the steps that should be taken by unmarried parents of a newborn in order to have a binding parenting contract for custody, visitation, and child support?

Christine (Guest) on Monday, March 03 2014, 04:44 PM
The parents are not together but they are in agreement about custody, visitation and child support. However, they both want to have an agreement that is legally binding between them on those subjects. Does something need to be filed in court? Is it required to establish paternity or can the father's name just be listed on the birth certificate? Is there a checklist that can be followed for parents proceeding with the agreement pro se? Can the agreement have a clause that allows the mother to take the child with her when she decides to move out of the Commonwealth that the father is in agreement with? What forms should be used?
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  • Replied by Attorney Eric Schutzbank on Wednesday, March 26 2014, 05:13 PM · Hide · #1
    Assuming that the biological father is on the birth certificate and has executed a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, the parents should jointly file a Complaint for Custody/Visitation/Support along with a written agreement that details custody, parenting time, child support and any other issues that they would to be part of an enforceable agreement. If any such agreement is not made into a Court Order, it is unenforceable and not binding.
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    Replied by Attorney James Milligan on Wednesday, March 26 2014, 05:14 PM · Hide · #2
    The parents of a new born child cannot file anything in court until the child is born. If the father signs the birth certificate he can file a complaint to establish custody/support/visitation pursuant to MGL c. 209C. If putative father has not signed the birth certificate a complaint to establish paternity may be filed. Either party may file in either of these situations. Feel free to contact us to discuss the matter further. www.GeofferyGerman.com.
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