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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102162
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Is there any legal documentation to obtain for a man who is

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Is there any legal documentation to obtain for a man who is and has been the physical and emotional father to a child since birth but is not the biological father. Is there anything similar to a birth certificate to empower his rights as a father?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

The answer is yes. However, mitigating factors matter here. Can you please tell me:

1) Where is the birth mother and does she consent to this?
2) Where is the birth father and does he consent to this?
3) Any more information you can tell me about the background would be helpful.

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

birth mother lives with the same man who has been the fathr since just after conception.

Not sure the birth father will consent because his mom makes the decision, may be able to pesuade him if we say no more minimal support. but that is a big IF

Mom is delicate....emotionally trying to do this without it feeling like a threat.

Thank you, S.

The answer is yes, in any case. There are two ways to go about doing so.

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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