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Juvenile Court Rules

Rules for the Care and Protection of Children

Juvenile Court Rules Rules for the Care and Protection of Children: Rule 6. Filing of birth certificates

Effective Date: 11/05/2018
Updates: Amended July 27, 2018, effective November 5, 2018

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Table of Contents

A. Care and protection cases

The petitioner shall file, within sixty days of commencement of the action, a certified copy of the birth certificate issued after the date of the filing of the petition, of each child named in the petition. In rare circumstances and for good cause shown, the judge may extend the time or waive the filing of the birth certificate. The petitioner may request an order from the court to produce a birth certificate pursuant to G. L. c. 46, § 2A if the petitioner does not have custody of the child.

B. Guardianship, parentage and change of name cases

The petitioner or plaintiff shall file along with the petition or complaint, a certified copy of the birth certificate for each child named in the petition or complaint. For good cause shown, the judge may extend the time or waive the filing of the birth certificate. The certified birth certificate shall have been issued within sixty days of filing the petition or complaint. The petitioner or plaintiff may request an order from the court to produce a birth certificate pursuant to G. L. c. 46, § 2A if the petitioner or plaintiff does not have custody of the child. If there is a certified copy of the child's birth certificate on file in the care and protection case, the clerk may copy and file it in the guardianship, parentage or change of name case provided that it was filed in the care and protection case within sixty days of the filing of the guardianship petition, parentage complaint or change of name petition.

Note

A. The importance of having a recent certified copy of the child's birth certificate to determine parentage in order to provide parents with notice and the opportunity to be heard cannot be overstated. "Good cause" should be construed narrowly and constitute more than mere inconvenience; however, there may be circumstances in which a certified copy of the birth certificate cannot be obtained or obtaining it would cause unreasonable delay in the disposition of the case. In such circumstances, including but not limited to instances in which a foreign birth certificate cannot be obtained, a judge may waive the filing of a certified copy of a birth certificate. In the event a foreign birth certificate is obtained, the burden is on the petitioner to provide an English translation of a foreign birth certificate.

B. There may be circumstances in which the certified copy of the birth certificate in the care and protection case does not satisfy the requirements of this rule and cannot be used when filing a guardianship, change of name petition, or a parentage complaint. In those instances, if the petitioner or the plaintiff does not have custody of the child and cannot otherwise obtain a certified copy of the birth certificate, he/she may file a motion in the underlying care and protection case for a court order to produce the birth certificate for filing with the petition or complaint. The person seeking such an order may be permitted to appear in the care and protection case for the sole purpose of filing such a motion. An appearance for this limited purpose does not make the person a party to the care and protection case.

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