news & events

News & Events
Establishing Paternity – Why and How

Establishing Paternity – Why and How

A child that has been born to unmarried parents does not have a legal father until paternity is established. Paternity is typically, but not always, established at the hospital when the child is born.

There are many benefits to establishing paternity, which include:

  • The right to include the father’s name on the birth certificate;
  • Ensuring the child is eligible for health insurance, life insurance, social security, and inheritance through the father;
  • Allowing the child access to the father’s genetic history – for ancestral and medical reasons;
  • Ensuring the ability to file for child support; and
  • Establishing the father’s ability to obtain visitation rights.

Paternity can be established in one of two ways: a paternity affidavit or a court order. A paternity affidavit is a legal document that permits a man and woman to declare that the man is the biological father of a child.

A paternity affidavit can be completed at the hospital within 72 hours of the child’s birth or at the local health department in the jurisdiction where the child was born any time before the child is emancipated. If paternity is established through a paternity affidavit, the local health department will add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.

Paternity can also be established through a court order. Either parent can file an action in a court of proper jurisdiction seeking determination of paternity. Once the action is filed, the court will set a hearing date and notice will be provided to both parties. At the hearing, the parties may agree to paternity without genetic testing, request genetic testing, or request for the court to hear evidence and decide whether or not paternity should be established.

If genetic testing is ordered by the court, the parties will be tested, and the court will wait to decide the issue of paternity until the genetic testing results are available.

If you are interested in getting paternity established or learning more about the process for establishing paternity, contact McNeelyLaw today. Call us at 317-825-5110 to talk to an experienced family law attorney who can help navigate you through this process.

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.

Welcome To Our Blog. Looking for a specific post?