Paternity cases are an emotionally driven aspect of family law. Paternity involves determining the biological parents of a child and identifying their resulting rights and duties. Mothers may find this important for establishing child support and establishing a parenting time order for the father. Fathers may desire to be allowed rights to see the child and raise the child by obtaining parenting time or custody. Our attorneys at Coots, Henke & Wheeler are effective and highly competent in representing mothers and fathers through all stages of paternity matters.
In Indiana, paternity may be established in two ways. First, the mother and father can swear by a signed affidavit that they are the parents of the child and thus be precluded from a later paternity dispute. Second, either party may file a paternity suit. If a suit is filed, it is generally essential that the parties find their own legal representation to assist them through the process. A DNA test is generally taken and will allow the comparison of samples taken from the child and father. Tests are generally performed by swabbing the mouths of each of the parties to obtain DNA for comparison.
After biological paternity is identified, each parent’s custody, child support and parenting time must be addressed. As with dissolution and post-dissolution matters, financial information is exchanged and various factors such as health insurance for the child, child care expenses and other necessary costs are considered. The mother and father are both responsible for the well-being of the child. Each parent exercising parenting time should properly care and provide for a child while they are within that parent’s care. Attorneys at Coots, Henke & Wheeler zealously advocate for both parents to obtain custody rights in a paternity action as well as limit rights in circumstances where a parent believes a child’s welfare would be harmed.