21 Kids and the Law How is paternity proved? The person who brings the paternity action has to prove paternity by clear and convincing evidence (evidence that is strong, positive, and free from doubt). A judge decides in these cases; there are no jury trials. The court can order the mother, child, and alleged father to take blood, genetic marker, or DNA tests. What happens if paternity is proved? The court may award custody to either or both parents based on what the court decides is in the best interests of the child. The court may award the par- ents joint custody only if: 1. the parents have entered into a written agreement, or 2. the court finds the parents both have been responsible for the child prior to the court action. As in a divorce case, the parents can file an agreement with the Probate and Family Court concerning custody, parenting time, and child support.The court can then approve and make the agreement a court order. If the parents cannot enter into an agreement, the court will hold a hearing to determine what is in the child’s best interests.The child support guidelines used in divorce cases are applied in paternity cases. The laws covering paternity are found in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 209C. Paternity 2