A paternity action is a legal method for establishing parental rights to a child and is often used in the case of a child whose parents are not married to one another. Whether you are a single mother or a man who believes he is the father of a child, our Indianapolis family law attorneys can help you ensure that your child is properly provided for in the future.
Indiana law allows the following persons or entities to file a petition to establish paternity of a child : an expectant mother, a child’s mother, a man alleging that he is a child’s biological father, the child, a prosecuting attorney, or a state or county Department of Child Services (DCS).
In Indiana, a man is presumed to be a child’s biological father if he and the child’s biological mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born either during the marriage or within three hundred (300) days after the marriage has been terminated. However, a man claiming to be a child’s biological father may still file a paternity petition and attempt to rebut this presumption. Once a paternity petition has been filed, any party may request that the court order the parties to submit to genetic testing.
Most Indiana hospitals will offer unmarried parents the opportunity to execute a Paternity Affidavit shortly after the birth of their child. In most instances, executing a Paternity Affidavit will establish paternity and will likely limit both parents’ ability to later challenge the paternity determination. Parents should use caution and should consult with a family law attorney (not just the hospital social worker) before executing a Paternity Affidavit.
Indiana offers a Putative Father Registry sponsored by the State Board of Health. Any man who believes he may have fathered a child may register—even if he is uncertain that a child was conceived. Registering as a putative father can help preserve rights of notice of certain legal actions, such as a petition to adopt the child. Failing to register can also waive rights to notice, meaning that a child could be adopted without the prior knowledge or consent of a biological father.
In any paternity action, a court must determine custody and parenting time rights and establish child support obligations for the parents. A non-custodial parent can be required to pay “retroactive support” dating back to the child’s birth or when the paternity action was filed. The court also may order a father to pay for reasonable one-time pregnancy-related and childbirth expenses and to reimburse the costs of genetic testing.
Whether you are a single mother or a man who believes he is the father of a child, the family law attorneys at Broyles Kight & Ricafort, P.C. can help you ensure that your child is properly provided for in the future.
Our team of recognized and respected family law and divorce attorneys provide legal advice and representation to clients throughout Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding area including Greenwood, Franklin, Carmel, Noblesville, Lebanon, Danville, Avon, Zionsville, Anderson, and Richmond.