Establishing Paternity in Indiana

Establishing paternity is the foundation of a Father’s rights and confirms his responsibilities.

Identifying a child’s Father is the first step in awarding a range of legal rights and responsibilities – or it may indeed prove that a particular individual does not have those responsibilities or rights because they are not the Father. In cases where there is doubt, a clear outcome is essential for all concerned and particularly for the child. How does the law work?

In Indiana, a man does not have legal rights to his child until paternity is established. He also cannot be ordered to pay child support until paternity is established. How is paternity established?

Establishing paternity can be done within the first 72 hours (three days) of a child’s life when both parents sign a Paternity Affidavit. This establishes a legal relationship between the Father and child. The Father will also be listed on the child’s birth certificate. The Paternity Affidavit is a form provided by the State Department of Health.

Paternity can also be established through the court system. When a Petition to Establish Paternity is filed, the issues of legal custody, physical custody, parenting time and child support are raised.

What happens when the paternity is denied or disputed?

If a man disputes that he is the Father, then DNA testing can be court ordered to confirm or deny paternity. Roman­Lagunas & Wheeler are fully experienced in handling all aspects of disputed paternity, from both the mother’s and the father’s (or alleged father’s) perspectives.

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