Mothers, fathers, and children may seek to establish paternity for a variety of reasons. Mothers may wish to establish paternity in order to seek financial support for their child or encourage a relationship between the father and child. Fathers may file a paternity suit to obtain custody of or visitation rights to their child. Children may attempt to establish paternity in order to begin a relationship with their father or to secure inheritance rights. Regardless of who is seeking to establish paternity and the reasons for doing so, an experienced family law attorney can help protect your rights throughout your paternity case.
In Indiana, paternity may only be established in one of two ways: 1) a paternity affidavit filed at the time of the child's birth or 2) a petition to establish paternity filed with the court. Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may occur when both parents agree to the identity of the biological father on the paternity affidavit filed with the hospital or local health department at the time of the child's birth. If this affidavit is not rescinded within 60 days of filing, only genetic evidence that the man listed on the affidavit is not the biological father will overturn this presumption of paternity.
In the absence of a paternity affidavit, a petition for paternity may be filed by the mother, alleged father, child or the Department of Child Services within two years after the child's birth, with a few exceptions. When determining paternity, the court may presume that the alleged father is the biological father in certain situations. For example, if a child is born to a woman who is married or within 300 days of the termination of her marriage, the woman’s husband is the presumptive father of the child under Indiana law. In addition, if a man accepts a child into his home and holds the child out as his biological child, a rebuttable presumption of paternity may arise. It is exceedingly difficult to overcome a legal presumption of paternity. That is why it is imperative that you seek the advice on an experienced family law attorney if you are the alleged father in a petition for paternity.
Genetic Testing in Indiana Paternity Cases
A blood test may be requested by any party in a paternity suit. Genetic testing may be performed only by qualified experts approved by the court. A party who wishes to object to the admissibility of genetic evidence must do so within 30 days of the scheduled hearing at which the tests will be presented as evidence. If an objection is raised, proof of the accuracy of the genetic tests must be presented at the hearing before the results may be admitted as evidence. Unless excluded as evidence for good cause, the test results are considered conclusive evidence that the alleged father is or is not the biological father of the child.
Call 812.238.2121 to Discuss Your Paternity Case with a Family Law Attorney at the Abel Law Firm.
If you are planning on filing a petition for paternity, or wish to challenge a presumption of paternity, you should seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. For the past 25 years, Eric Abel has devoted his practice primarily to divorce and child custody cases. The Abel Law Firm provides aggressive, compassionate representation in all family law matters. To discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney, call 812.238.2121 today OR contact us online.