WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.
Legal Information: Massachusetts
Updated: December 11, 2019
Who can file for custody?
Generally, both parents are entitled to file for sole or shared custody from the court. However, if the parents are unmarried, the father must first establish paternity (legal fatherhood) before seeking legal custody of his child.1 Paternity can be established by in court if one parent files a paternity petition in court, or outside of court if both parents sign and file what is called a “voluntary acknowledgment form.” You can read more about paternity and how to establish it on MassLegalHelp.org.
Grandparents may also be able to seek custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances. See I am the child’s grandparent. Can I get custody or visitation of the child?
1 M.G.L. 209C §§ 10(b); 11
© 2008–2019 WomensLaw.org is a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. All rights reserved. This website is funded in part through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this website (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided). NNEDV is a 501©(3) non-profit organization; EIN 52-1973408.