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Establishing Paternity in Indiana

Establishing Paternity in Indiana


Establishing paternity differs from state to state but regardless of the process, it is an important step in determining the rights and responsibilities of parents. In Indiana, paternity must be established to resolve issues such as child custody, parenting time, and child support, if the child was born out of wedlock.

There are two ways to establish paternity in Indiana:

· By properly executing a paternity affidavit; or

· By a court in a case filed under the Indiana paternity statutes.

If a mother and father were married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is the presumed father and they are both the legal parents of the child, meaning they have the same rights and responsibilities. However, when a child is born out of wedlock or the identity of the father is in question, it may be necessary to formally establish paternity.

One way to establish paternity when a child is born out of wedlock is to have both parents sign a paternity affidavit. A paternity affidavit that is properly signed by both parents conveys the rights and responsibilities of parenthood to the named father, and it establishes the custody and parenting time rights of each parent. While paternity affidavits are typically executed at the time of birth, the parents can go through their local health department and complete an affidavit at any point before the child reaches the age of emancipation.

If a paternity affidavit was not signed, then a paternity action can be filed in an appropriate Indiana court by the mother, the alleged father, the child, the Department of Child Services, or the local prosecutor. By filing an action, a court can determine paternity, either with the agreement of the parties or over the objection of a party. Once a paternity action is filed, a hearing will be held and both parties must appear. Genetic testing can be requested by either parent and/or ordered by the court. If the court establishes paternity, then the Court will also determine the parties’ rights and obligations related to custody, parenting time, and child support.

If you need assistance establishing paternity in Indiana, McNeelyLaw has family law attorneys ready to help you navigate the process. Contact us at 317-825-5110 to speak with an attorney today.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.


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