Like the relationships at the root, establishing paternity is sometimes messy and complicated. However, many reasons exist to work through the difficulties and identify a child’s father. Confirming the paternity of a child establishes that child’s right to inheritance, insurance and survivor benefits from their father and the opportunity to connect with more of their heritage.
Here are a few ways to establish paternity in Indiana.
Presumption of paternity
If a woman bears a child during marriage, the law presumes that her husband is the father. Additionally, if the child is born within 300 days after a marriage ends, the presumption is that the husband is the child’s father.
In scenarios unlike those above, there are two ways to establish paternity. First, a man and a woman can complete a paternity affidavit identifying the man as the child’s father. They can complete the affidavit through the health department at any time while the child is a minor or at the hospital within 72 hours of birth. The child’s birth certificate will then reflect the addition. A second option is a court order. Either parent can request a court hearing to determine paternity. At this hearing, the man and woman can agree to paternity without DNA testing or seek testing for clarification. The court may also make a decision based on other presented evidence.
The process may be smooth if both parents agree on the paternity determination. Disputed cases are often more complicated. The interested parties should seek the input of a trusted and knowledgeable advisor to help them navigate their situation.