Paternity and Related Issues

August 20, 2019 | 3 minute read
Posted by Matthew Zentz on August 20, 2019

Under Indiana Law, there is a presumption that a child born to a married couple is the child of that marriage and both parents are legally the legal parents. but what happens if a child is born out of wedlock?

How to establish paternity?

Indiana Law (I.C. 31-14-7) determines when there is a presumption of paternity (that a man is the legal father of a child). When the parties are not married, paternity can be otherwise established by the proper execution of a paternity affidavit under I.C. 16-37-2-2.1 or by a court order. When paternity is established by court order, it can be established by both parties admitting in court that the man is the father or, if there is disagreement, by a DNA test.

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Once Paternity is Established

After paternity is established, there other issues that must be dealt with in instances where the parties are in substantial disagreement regarding a child/children. Who has custody? Who spends how much time with the child/children and when? What about child support?

Courts in Indiana apply a "best interest" standard when evaluating custody issues. While it may seem simple to say that a court is going to do what is in the best interest of children, that can be complicated when both parents believe that they have the best interest of a child at heart and those ideas are not consistent with each other. Under I.C. 31-17-2-8, there are statutory factors that the court will consider to determine what is best for a child including, the age and sex of the child, the wishes of the child's parent or parents, the wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age, the interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, or other family members, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, and evidence of a pattern or domestic of family violence by either parent.

Those factors are important and they must be supported by evidence properly admitted for a judge to consider. It is important to understand that simply believing you have your child's best interest at heart, while true, is not sufficient for the court to make a determination.

Homan & Zentz, P.C. is here to assist Hoosiers with legal issues surrounding paternity, custody and parenting time.

Child Support

Child support is for the purpose of providing for a child/children and attempting to maintain their status quo to the extent possible. Child support is a function of incomes, who pays for child care, which party provides health care, and what the division of parenting time is between the parents. While it is generally very formulaic depending on those factors, there can be reasons for a court to deviate from a suggested support order but those reasons must be valid and in the best interest of the child/children.

Homan & Zentz, P.C. is here to assist Hoosiers with legal issues related to child support.

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