How Long Does a Father Have To File For Paternity?

When does a biological father have to file paternity for his child?

While the presumption is that paternity should be filed in the first two years after a child’s birth, there are exceptions to that rule, as explained by the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell & Cordell.

In the state I practice in (Indiana), the law states that:

The mother, a man alleging to be the child’s father, or the department or its agents must file a paternity action not later than two (2) years after the child is born, unless:

 

  • both the mother and the alleged father waive the limitation on actions and file jointly;
  • support has been furnished by the alleged father or by a person acting on his behalf, either voluntarily or under an agreement with the mother, a person acting on the mother’s behalf, or a person acting on the child’s behalf
  • the mother, the department, or the county office of family and children files a petition after the alleged father has acknowledged in writing that he is the child’s biological father;
  • the alleged father files a petition after the mother has acknowledged in writing that he is the child’s biological father;
  • the petitioner was incompetent at the time the child was born; or
  • a responding party cannot be served with summons during the two (2) year period.

For example, if the parents both agree to waive the two-year limit and file to establish paternity jointly, the two-year limit does not apply. Similarly, if the father has been paying child support, the two-year year limit does not apply, or if the father acknowledges in writing that he is the father, the two-year limit would not apply.

To establish paternity, the parent would file a Verified Petition to Establish Paternity with the court to open a case on the matter of paternity for the minor child in question.

The court would then set a hearing to review the evidence regarding paternity, such as a blood test (or the court could order a blood test if necessary), or a paternity affidavit.  Depending on the circumstances of your case, the court would evaluate the evidence and possibly declare paternity of the child.

The Cordell & Cordell Law Firm has divorce attorneys for men located nationwide should you seek assistance in your paternity case or learn more information about paternity laws on DadsDivorce.com.

By Leslie Lorenzano

Mens Divorce Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

 


Matt Allen

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