Paternity is the legal recognition of the parental relationship between a father and his child. A child born to an unwed couple does not automatically have a legal father until a paternity action is completed. If a child is born to a married couple, the state of Indiana considers the spouse to be the legal father.
Why Does Paternity Matter?
It can be important to establish the paternity of your child to secure the parents’ and the child’s legal rights. Child support cannot be court ordered unless paternity has been established. Other benefits including health insurance, social security, and inheritance can also be subject to the determination of paternity. Determining the paternity of a child can also provide information necessary to establish a medical history that can be beneficial throughout the child’s life.
Voluntary v. Involuntary
Paternity can be established in several ways. In the event that the mother of the child is not married, a paternity affidavit can be voluntarily completed by the father of the child. If the person who the woman identifies as the father of the child disputes the claim, the court will require DNA testing to prove paternity. DNA samples in the form of blood or saliva swab of the mother, child, and identified father will be gathered in order to settle the dispute. When a woman is married, her husband is considered the father of the child unless there is conflicting evidence.
For unwed couples establishing paternity is often a first-step in ensuring that the needs of a child are met. The state of Indiana considers both parents to be responsible for raising and supporting a child. The legal process of establishing paternity can help to put a structure in place to serve the best interests of the child. If you are interested in establishing paternity, contact a Terre Haute Family Law Firm.
Terre Haute Family Law Firm
Paternity provides certain legal rights to the father of the child such as parenting time, custody, and support. By establishing paternity, the father becomes able to exercise his legal rights to support the development of his child.
If you are involved in or considering a paternity action, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Terre Haute paternity lawyer to understand your rights and obligations. The Terre Haute paternity lawyers at Rowdy Williams Law Firm has litigated Indiana paternity cases and helped clients establish parenting time, support, and custody orders.