Biology Not Required to Establish Parentage

Today, in the landmark decision of Partanen v. Gallagher, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a woman may establish herself as a child’s presumptive parent even in the absence of a biological relationship with the child. I previously wrote about the history of the parties, their positions and oral arguments before the Court. To establish parentage, a person must demonstrate that the named child was born to two people who are not married to each other and that he or she, jointly with the other, received the child into their home and openly held the child as their own. Although the impact of this decision remains to be seen, the novelty of the issue at hand may result in it setting precedent for other courts across the country.

Ms. Rockwell focuses her practice on all aspects of probate and domestic relations cases as well as all aspects of civil appeals. She works with clients from the initial interview through settlement negotiations, trial, post-judgment motions, appeals and collection of judgments. Several of her cases have resulted in published decisions in the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court. The Probate and Family Court has appointed Ms. Rockwell to represent incompetent litigants and serve as guardian ad litem to investigate and report to the Court involving matters relating to wills, trusts, probate accounts and child related issues in custody disputes. Ms. Rockwell currently serves on the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Children and the Law Program, on both the trial and appellate panels.


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