If you are married and wish to divorce your spouse, you can file for custody of your child at the same time. See Divorce for more information.

If you are married but live apart from you spouse (or want to live apart from your spouse), you can file for custody of your child and get support at the same time. See Separate Support for more information.

If you are unmarried, but your name is not on the child’s birth certificate and there is no court order naming you as the father, you must file:

  1. Complaint to Establish Paternity (CJD 106) pdf format of Complaint to Establish Paternity (CJD 106)
file size 1MB
  2. A copy of the child’s birth certificate. This is available from the Registry of Vital Records if the child was born in Massachusetts.
  3.   Affidavit of Care and Custody (OCAJ-1) pdf format of Affidavit Disclosing Care/Custody Proceeding a Child

If you are unmarried, but you and the other parent signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity OR there is already a court order which says you are the father, you must file:

  1. Complaint for Support-Custody-Visitation (CJD 109) pdf format of Complaint for Support Custody G.L. c. 209C (CJD 109)
file size 1MB
  2. A copy of the signed Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity pdf format of Voluntary_Ack_of_Parentage_Form.pdf
  3. Affidavit of Care and Custody (OCAJ-1) pdf format of Affidavit Disclosing Care/Custody Proceeding a Child

For all of the above, you may also need to file:

  1. Motion for Temporary Orders pdf format of Motion (CJD 400)
(i.e. child custody, child support, spousal support, etc.) if you need a court order quickly. Fill in what you want the court to order. With this, you also need an Affidavit links to Word file , where you explain to the judge what happened and when, and a Proposed Order links to Word file .
  2. Affidavit of Indigency and Supplement pdf format of Supplement to the Affidavit of Indigency
file size 1MB if you cannot afford the fees. See Paying Your Fees for more information.
  3. Financial Statements and applicable schedules. See Financial Statements for more information.
  4. Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (CJD 304) pdf format of Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (CJD 304)
file size 1MB if you are seeking support.
  5. Child Support Guidelines Deviation (CJD 305) pdf format of Child Support Findings for Deviation (CJD 305)
file size 1MB if you don’t think the child support guidelines should apply to your case.
  6. Motion to Waive Attendance at a Parent Education Program (CJD 444) pdf format of Motion to Waive Attendance Parent Ed (CJD 444)
file size 1MB if you cannot attend a parent education program.
  7. Complaint for Contempt (CJD 103) pdf format of Complaint for Contempt (CJD 103)
if a parent is not following a court order.  
  8. Request for Limited Issues Settlement Conference (CJD 114) pdf format of Limited Issues Settlement Conference (CJD 114)
file size 1MB if the parents wish to get help from the court to come to an agreement.  

Filing Fees

$215: Filing Fee (including surcharge) for Divorce (including custody)

$115: Filing Fee (including surcharge) for Support-Custody-Visitation, Separate Support, or Paternity

$5: Summons

Plus fees to the sheriff or constable for service.