Jesse G. Pace answers:
There are a few different ways to establish paternity in Indiana. The first is by signing what is called a paternity affidavit within the first 3 days after a child’s birth. The paternity affidavit is a document provided by the Indiana State Department of Health. Both the mother and the father would sign this affidavit.
A party can also file a court case to establish paternity. If paternity is disputed, the Court can order a DNA test to confirm or refute paternity.
Establishing paternity is the mechanism that recognizes who the legal father of the child is, and you’ll be the father on the child’s birth certificate. Additionally, establishing paternity can help facilitate health insurance coverage for your child, or make your child eligible to receive certain benefits, such as veteran benefits, and would recognize your child as a legal heir. If you complete the process, the child will carry the father’s last name.
Parties can reach an agreement regarding paternity and the issues of custody, support, and parenting time, and submit that agreement to the Court for approval and entrance of an Order. Or, if there is no agreement, the parties can proceed to have a hearing in front of the Judge who will decide these issues.
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