Knowledgeable and Passionate Indianapolis Family Law Attorney with Paternity Dispute Experience
At Eskew Law LLC, our Indianapolis paternity lawyer fully understands Indiana law recognizes that parents are afforded legal rights and responsibilities regarding the care of their children. These rights and duties automatically attach to biological mothers and fathers. Oftentimes, paternity needs to be established before bestowing the rights and obligations of parenthood upon a father. Establishing paternity involves testing and court procedures. Once paternity is established, the father can pursue his rights, relinquish his rights, or be ordered by the court to pay child support. Establishing paternity allows for a child to be fully cared for by both parents and to receive all necessities required for his or her upbringing, such as food, shelter, and education.
If you believe you have rights as a biological father and want to pursue those rights or if you are disputing the paternity of a child, you need a skilled Indianapolis family law attorney to evaluate your situation, advise you on how to proceed, and advocate for your side in court. To learn more about the law and your rights, contact Eskew Law LLC today. Our family law litigators can assist you with paternity, child custody and visitation, and child support issues. To schedule a consultation, call us at (317) 974-0177.
When a couple is married while a child is born, Indiana law presumes that the husband is the biological father of the child. In addition, if a couple separates or files for divorce and a child is born less than 300 days later, the ex-husband is presumed to be the father. Therefore, he is given legal rights and has an equal say in the care and upbringing of the child.
However, in some situations, a husband is not the biological father and may contest paternity. In other situations, the purported parents are not a couple. Therefore, the court intervenes to determine paternity. The first way to establish paternity is to file a paternity affidavit. A paternity affidavit is a declaration, signed by both the man and woman, that the man is the biological father. Usually, this affidavit is done at the hospital after the child is born, though it can be executed at any time while the child is a minor. Once the affidavit is signed and submitted to the Indiana State Department of Health, the man will be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
If the man contests paternity or if the parties are unsure, the court can order the parties to determine paternity. This can be done through agreement but is more commonly done through genetic testing. An accredited laboratory will swab both the child and father for DNA to determine if there is a match. The results of the DNA test will then be admitted into evidence. If the man is the father, he receives all rights and responsibilities of parenting.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
If paternity is established, your parental rights include:
- Medical decisions and health insurance
- Education and schooling
- Discipline (within reason)
- Housing type and location
- Extracurricular activities
- Time with the child through custody or visitation
Fathers may also be tasked with the financial and emotional needs of the child, which include:
- To know that the parents’ decision to live apart is not the child’s fault
- To develop and maintain an independent relationship with each parent and to have the continuing care and guidance from each parent
- To be free from having to side with either parent and to be free from conflict between the parents
- To have a relaxed, secure relationship with each parent without being placed in a position to manipulate one parent against the other
- To enjoy regular and consistent time with each parent
- To be financially supported by each parent, regardless of how much time each parent spends with the child
- To be physically safe and adequately supervised when in the care of each parent and to have a stable, consistent and responsible child care arrangement when not supervised by a parent
- To develop and maintain meaningful relationships with other significant adults (grandparents, stepparents, and other relatives) as long as these relationships do not interfere with or replace the child’s primary relationship with the parents
For additional information regarding your parental rights, you may wish to speak with an acclaimed Indianapolis paternity attorney. In addition to your rights, you are also saddled with obligations, which include:
- Basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter
- Financially contributing toward the costs of raising the child, often done through child support
Contact an Indianapolis Paternity Lawyer for Guidance on Paternity Issues
If you live within the Central Indiana area and need assistance with determining paternity or if you would like to dispute paternity, an experienced Indianapolis family law attorney at Eskew Law LLC can help you begin the process, complete proper paperwork, and understand your options. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for each and every one of our clients. To schedule an initial consultation, call Eskew Law LLC at (317) 974-0177 or contact us online.