Establishing paternity is legal jargon for assuming fatherhood and all the rights and obligations that come with it. Men who have established paternity are generally entitled to parenting time, which allows them to play an active role in their children’s lives, regardless of their relationship with the other parent.
Depending on the circumstances, establishing paternity may also grant the children certain benefits. For example, they may be entitled to health insurance coverage, educational stipends, and/or ongoing financial support under one or more government programs.
What’s more, if the parents are not together, a formal recognition of fatherhood will allow the court to order a child support arrangement. This, in turn, will ensure the kids enjoy the same standard of living at both parents’ homes.
Let’s take a look at the various ways in which paternity can be established in the state of Indiana:
1. Legal Presumption
A man is presumed to be the father of any children that his wife bears during their marriage. A man is also presumed to be the father of any children that his ex-wife has within 300 days of ending their marriage, unless another man establishes paternity by affidavit or court order.
When a husband or recent ex-husband is the father of a child, the parents simply need to put his name on the birth certificate.
2. Paternity Affidavit
Parents may use a paternity affidavit to declare fatherhood. As it’s a legal document, however, they must remember that they’re doing so under penalty of perjury. The affidavit can be prepared at the hospital within 72 hours of the child’s birth.
This document can also be prepared at the local health department any time after the birth, as long as the child has not been emancipated. After paternity is established by affidavit, the Department of Health will put the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate.
3. Court Order
In cases where paternity is contested, it’s usually established through a court order. Either party may petition the appropriate court for determination of fatherhood. The county prosecutor is also entitled to seek a court order to establish paternity if the case regards child support obligations.
After receiving the petition, the court will arrange for a hearing. At this proceeding, the judge will review evidence to determine whether paternity needs to be established. If it does, the parents may agree to establish paternity with or without genetic testing.
Discuss Your Case with a Family Law Attorney in Lafayette
If you’re facing a family law dispute that has brought paternity into question, contact Ball Eggleston. Founded in 1950, our firm is committed to helping clients navigate complicated legal proceedings so they can resolve even the most contentious disputes as favorably as possible. Call (765) 742-9046 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a consultation with a family law lawyer in Lafayette.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.