Establish parental rights.
Unmarried parents face many of the same issues as divorcing couples. Child custody and visitation schedules must be developed and child support obligations must be determined.
However, there are additional steps unwed parents must take before courts will recognize a legal right to custody, visitation or support. While unwed mothers are automatically given parental rights, establishing paternal rights over a child requires both parties to voluntarily sign an affidavit of paternity or DNA testing.
At Emswiller, Williams, Noland & Clarke, LLC, we are committed to getting our clients the parenting time they need to develop and maintain strong father-child bonds, and obtain the child support they need to raise their children.
Petition for DNA testing.
There are two ways to establish paternity of a child born outside of marriage in Indiana. After the child is born, both parents may agree to the father signing an affidavit acknowledging paternity of the child.
While this affidavit does not affect the mother’s physical custody, it does establish the father’s legal right to equally share in legal custody and allows fathers to pursue physical custody and visitation. The affidavit also establishes the right to child support. However, a parent cannot enforce parenting time or child support or hold a parent in contempt without a Court order establishing paternity.
After 60 days the affidavit will become final and the only way to negate paternity will be through alleging fraud or mistake of fact and genetic testing. If parents do not voluntarily establish paternity through an affidavit, the mother or father of the child may petition the court for DNA testing.