Are you a father that would like to establish parenting time and custody order with your children?  Are you a mother that would like to establish parenting time orders, custody orders, or child support orders?

Every parent has a right to have a relationship with their child. Our attorneys are experienced with establishing paternity so that a parent can obtain parenting time, custody orders, and child support.

Indiana Law and Establishing Paternity

When a couple is married while a child is born, the law of Indiana presumes that the husband is the biological father of the child.  However, when a couple is not married, formal paternity must be established.

There are multiple ways to establish paternity.  The first way is by the father signing an Indiana Paternity Affidavit; thereby acknowledging that he is the father of the child.  This affidavit is usually completed after the child is born at the hospital.  Once the affidavit is signed, it becomes final after 60 days has passed.

Signing the affidavit gives a father the right to legal custody, but without further court order, there is no physical custody or visitation that can be enforced (such rights are referred to as “parenting time”).   It does however, allow the parents to petition the Court for parenting time, custody, and child support orders.

The other way to establish paternity is to file a petition with a Court.  If a man is not sure of whether he is the father, or if the woman is unsure who the father is, the Court can order DNA testing.  However, DNA testing is not mandatory, and the parties can agree to the paternity without DNA testing.

When Must an Action for Paternity Be Filed?

In Indiana, the time for filing an action for paternity is required by statute.  Generally, the mother, or a man alleging to be the child’s father, must file a paternity action not later than two years after the child is born.  So it is very important to understand that establishing paternity can be time sensitive.

However, there are some exceptions to this time limit.  The following may allow a parent to establish paternity even after the two years has passed:

  • Where both the mother and father waive the limitation on actions and file jointly.
  • Where support has been furnished by the alleged father or by a person acting on his behalf, either voluntarily or under some agreement.
  • The mother files a petition after the alleged father has acknowledged in writing that he is the child’s biological father.
  • The alleged father files a petition after the mother has acknowledged in writing that he is the child’s biological father.
  • The petitioner was incompetent at the time the child was born.

Contact the attorneys at Dollard & Whalin to set up a consultation to discuss your options concerning establishing paternity.

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