209C Actions in Family Court – Complaint for Custody, Visitation and Support
In such circumstances that both parents are on the birth certificate but are unmarried, child custody issues are resolved in Massachusetts under a “209C” Complaint that addresses children being born out of wedlock. Parental rights for married and unmarried parents are different in that married parents begin with equal rights when it comes to custody of any children born during the marriage whereas biological mothers who are unmarried automatically have custody of their children under the law.
The other parent can file in the Family Court to obtain custody rights of their child when born out of wedlock. A court will determine whether joint or shared custody is in the best interest of the child. The court will look at both legal and physical custody as well as a parenting schedule when this type of case is filed. The court will also evaluate how child support will be provided for unmarried parents under a 209C Complaint. Both parents are financially responsible for the child even if they are unmarried and that financial responsibility can date back to the birth of the child.