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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.

Men's Rights Editor

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