A paternity action is a legal method for establishing parental rights to a child and is often used in the case of a child born out of wedlock Whether you are a single mother or a man who believes he is the father of a particular child, our attorneys can help you ensure that your child is properly provided for in the future.
Parenthood is a gift.
Indiana law allows the following persons 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 Children’s 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 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 counsel 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.
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 child birth expenses and to reimburse the costs of genetic testing.