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How is paternity established in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Paternity

Paternity, synonymous with fatherhood, holds crucial legal implications, offering both parents and the child certain rights and advantages. This blog post explores the process of establishing paternity in Indiana, emphasizing its importance for the child and parents alike.

Why is establishing paternity vital?

Establishing paternity serves as a cornerstone with lasting implications for a child’s life and establishes legal acknowledgements and rights for parent and child. Even if the parents are unmarried at the time of conception or birth, it is advisable to contemplate establishing paternity.

Identity and financial security

Establishment of both parents can provide a child with a sense of belonging and a fundamental understanding of their heritage. Paternity also ensures a child’s entitlement to numerous legal and formal benefits. These benefits include federal benefits, like social security and veteran’s benefits, in addition to state benefits, like inheritance rights, life insurance, health insurance, etc. Plus, paternity is the initial step to an equitable financial support plan from both parents.

Medical awareness

Knowledge of inherited health problems from both sides of the family is crucial, especially when there is a known and treatable family ailment that runs in the family. Additionally, medical insurance may become available through a parent’s employer, union or even military service.

How is paternity established?

Paternity can be established in two primary ways in Indiana: through a paternity affidavit or by court order. A paternity affidavit is a legal document that both parents sign, affirming their biological parentage. This can be completed within 72 hours of the child’s birth at the hospital or at any local health department within certain time frames. The affidavit solidifies legal paternity, parental rights and responsibilities. It can be contested under narrow circumstances.

Alternatively, paternity can be established through a court order initiated by either parent or a state agency. This process allows for genetic testing and a court hearing. The court considers evidence, such as genetic test results, testimonies, etc. to determine biological paternity. After paternity is established, a court can proceed to address custody, parenting time, child support, medical expenses, birth expenses, etc.


Establishing paternity in Indiana holds numerous benefits for both parents and the child. Whether through a paternity affidavit or a court order, the process ensures legal recognition and addresses important rights and responsibilities.