Thank you, S.
The answer is yes, in any case. There are two ways to go about doing so.GUARDIANSHIP
If the birth father does not agree, this is an option. This is where the man can take guardianship
of the child. He would have all the same rights and responsibilities are a parent (hence the term "parent or guardian"). The mother and the man would file the petition in Court and ask that he be appointed guardian of the child, and that it is "in the best interest of the child
" that he be appointed guardian. Blixt v. Blixt, 437 Mass. 649 - Mass: Supreme Judicial Court 2002
. If the Court agrees, and it would consider the bond that the man and the child already have, it will grant it.
The biological father must be served with process, and may challenge the request, but unless he ha a compounding reason for the Court not to grant it, it normally would be.
This guardianship order would not "change" the names on the birth certificate, but simply supplement them.
If the biological father agrees, then the man can adopt the child via an adoption petition. The biological father's rights would then have to be terminated, and the adoption petition is often filed back to back with a termination petition and both are executed at the same time.
Upon adoption, the man becomes the child's legal parent. The birth certificate still stays the same, but the adoption order overrides it and names the man as the legal father.
An attorney is strongly
recommended in either scenario. May I recommend the Mass Bar referral program - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
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