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General Laws

Section 1. Children born to parents who are not married to each other shall be entitled to the same rights and protections of the law as all other children. It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a means for such children either to be acknowledged by their parents voluntarily or, on complaint by one or the other of their parents or such other person or agency as is authorized to file a complaint by section five, to have an acknowledgment or adjudication of their paternity, to have an order for their support and to have a declaration relative to their custody or visitation rights ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. For the purpose of this chapter, the term “child born out of wedlock” shall refer to any child born to a man and woman who are not married to each other and shall include a child who was conceived and born to parents who are not married to each other but who subsequently intermarry and whose paternity has not been acknowledged by word or deed or whose paternity has not been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction; and a child born to parents who are not married to each other whose paternity has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction, including an adjudication in a proceeding pursuant to this chapter or prior law. Every person is responsible for the support of his child born out of wedlock from its birth up to the age of eighteen, or, where such child is domiciled in the home of a parent and principally dependent upon said parent for maintenance, to age twenty-one. Each person charged with support under this section shall be required to furnish support according to his financial ability and earning capacity pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

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