Proving Paternity in Indiana
A child’s birth should be a joyous occasion. A new human being is nothing short of a biological miracle, and a child who has made it through nine months of development should have the opportunity to enter the world with joy and a supportive family to help them make their way into the future. However, that is not always the case; one of the possible issues after a birth is the question of paternity, or who the biological father is.
According to Indiana law, a husband is presumed to be the father of a child born in marriage. It is not always that easy, though. Sometimes conflicting claims arise, based on supposition that the mother may have had extramarital encounters. Likewise, when the mother is not married, there may have been more than one partner who could have fathered the child. In such cases, contingencies are in place to establish paternity.
Contact McNeely Stephenson in New Albany
If you are involved in questions of paternity, contact McNeely Stephenson Attorneys in New Albany. McNeely Stephenson has years of experience practicing law in all parts of Indiana and Kentucky, and will work tirelessly to help with your legal needs. We have the resources and experience to help. If you have questions or want to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 812.725.8224.
Settling the Question
Paternity is not always clear cut. At times it becomes necessary to establish who the biological father is, even if the mother is married. In this case, there are two ways to establish the father, according to Indiana law.
- Paternity Affidavit – A paternity affidavit is the declaration that a man is the father of the child. If the affidavit is signed and filed within 72 hours of the child’s birth, the father’s name is added to the birth certificate.
- Court Order – Either parent has the right to request a court-ordered paternity test. The two parties will be notified of the request and the parties may decide paternity or request a genetic (DNA) test.
DNA testing is done simply by swabbing the cheek of an individual (or individuals), after which the resulting DNA is taken to a laboratory and sequenced. If sets of DNA match, paternity is established. In Indiana, genetic paternity testing is done through specific and accredited laboratories. While DNA testing kits are available in several stores, results are not admissible unless done through specific clinics listed by the state.
Benefits to the Child
With paternity established, the child will have rights to:
- Social Security or survivor benefits
- Inheritance rights
- Veteran’s benefits (if applicable)
- Life and health insurance benefits.
Aside from potential monetary awards, there are also several potential intangible rewards. The courts in Indiana encourage the participation of both parents in a child’s life and have constructed the system to make that a reality whenever possible.
If the father of the child is not the mother’s husband, establishing paternity will guarantee him specific rights which can be granted by the courts depending on the situation. Among the rights are custody and visitation, including overnight visits. The courts also recommend the children see their noncustodial parent at least every other weekend.
Paternity also establishes specific responsibilities for the father, not the least of which is child support. Indiana law suggests children deserve the support of both parents, and that the noncustodial parent should help pay for the child’s upbringing until the child turns 19 or is emancipated.
The system also has in place several means of collecting support or levying punishments in the event the noncustodial parent fails to make payments, including: confiscating income tax returns, bonuses or insurance settlements; suspending licenses including hunting, fishing, etc.; vehicle liens and other means.
Child support payments are determined through an equation. In Indiana, the amount is dependent on a questionnaire of both parents that includes: gross income, health insurance, daycare, number of children and several other questions.
McNeely Stephenson, a law firm in New Albany, Indiana, has faithfully served the people and communities of Indiana and Kentucky for several years in a variety of legal areas. We have the experience and resources to help. To ask a question or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 812.725.8224.