It is generally a good idea to take the time needed to establish paternity. Children generally want to know who their father is and it can provide them with child support and other important benefits. Our experienced Fort Wayne paternity attorneys explain more about these and how to initiate the process.
Paternity is presumed when a child is born either during a marriage or within 300 days after a divorce. In situations involving single parents, there are two options for establishing paternity in Indiana.
The first is a paternity affidavit. This is a legal document both parties sign declaring that the man is the child’s biological father and assumes all parental rights and responsibilities. The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) advises that a paternity agreement can be done either at the hospital and within 72 hours of the child’s birth or at any point after (up until the child is emancipated) at the local department of health. Once a paternity affidavit is signed, the father’s name can then be added to the birth certificate. The second option for establishing paternity is through a court order.
This requires legal proceedings in which DNA testing is conducted and is commonly used if either the mother or father refuses to sign a paternity agreement. Knowing their father is important to children as they get older and formally establishing paternity offers other important benefits:
Under the Indiana Code, a father, mother, or even the child themselves (up until the age of 20) can initiate paternity proceedings by filing a petition through the local court. This alleges a specific person is the father and requests a court order. Once filed, the process generally follows these steps:
There are many benefits to establishing paternity. To find out more about the process, reach out to The Bellinger Law Office. Call or contact our Fort Wayne paternity attorneys online and request a confidential consultation today.