Jessica L. Berrien | Family LawJessica L. Berrien | Family Law
Attorney
Jessica L. Berrien
is a Northampton, Massachusetts attorney who represents clients in civil litigation matters including family law, practicing primarily in the Western Massachusetts divisions of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. Attorney Berrien represents egg, embryo and sperm donors in third party ART (assisted reproductive technology) cases.
Practice Areas

Divorce
Child Custody
Child Support
Alimony / Spousal Support
Same-Sex Divorce
Separation Agreements
Property Division
Interstate Removal
Unmarried Partner Disputes
Paternity Actions
Third Party ART
Egg Donation
Embryo Donation
Sperm Donation      
Adoptions

Post Divorce Actions
Modifications
Contempt Actions

Domestic Violence
Restraining Orders
Grandparents Rights
International Kidnapping
Adoptions

Jessica Berrien | Family Law
Did you know that if you are the father of a child born out of wedlock and you do not have either a legal written custody agreement filed with the Massachusetts Probate Court or an order/judgment from the court granting you custody, you do not have custody of your child? This is true even if you have filed a Voluntary Acknolwedgment of Parentage Form, you are listed as the father on the birth certificate, the child has your last name or even if you are living with the child or are the sole or primary caretaker for the child.

What this means is that the mother has sole physical and legal custody und Massachusetts law unless/until you are granted custody by the Court or you and the mother come to an agreement and file it with the Court. This can cause serious problems if your relationship with the mother ends, specifically if the mother decides to move away with the child, either interstate or out of the country. This also means that you have no legal right to make decisions about the child's medical care, education and religious upbringing. You still have a legal obligation to provide financial support/child support for your child.

Children Born Out of Wedlock, Massachusetts Laws
(M.G.L. chapter 209C)