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The Department of Revenue (DOR)

Produced by an AmeriCorps Project of Western Massachusetts Legal Services updated and revised Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed August 2015

Why do I have to go to court with the Department of Revenue (DOR) on a paternity case?

If you get TAFDC (welfare), the Department of Revenue (DOR) has the right to file a paternity case against the father for child support. The state is supporting your child with welfare. The state has the right to try to get the father to help support your child.

DOR can arrange genetic marker testing. Sometimes they even test right at the court house. The new tests just use a swipe from inside the mouth. The test does not hurt at all. No blood is needed.

If you are afraid of the father of your children, you can  stop DOR from taking him to court. Read more about how to stop DOR from taking the father of your child to court.

DOR is only supposed to ask the court for a child support order. The court should not decide things like custody or parenting time or visitation in a DOR case unless the father filed a motion that asks the court to decide custody, parenting time, or visitation on the same day.  If the father has filed a motion to decide custody, parenting time or visitation, he must have served you with notice of the motion before the hearing date. 

Your child’s father tries to get the court to decide custody, parenting time or visitation

 If you are in court with DOR and the father has not filed a proper motion but still tries to talk about custody, parenting time, or visitation, tell the DOR lawyer and the judge that the father has not filed and served a motion and that the father should not be talking about those issues at this time. If the father wants to bring up those issues, he should send notice to you first so you have time to prepare and get legal advice.

You want the court to decide custody, parenting time or visitation

If you want to get things like custody, parenting time or visitation taken care of at the court hearing in the DOR case, you can try to. File a motion with the Probate and Family Court clerk at least ten days before the DOR case hearing. In the motion, ask for custody and a particular parenting time or visitation schedule if you want one. Send a copy to the father that same day. This can be a good thing, if you are ready, because you end up doing less work. The DOR case is filed, so you just have to prepare a motion and be ready to tell the court why you should get what you are asking for. (See Chapter 13)

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