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.