A father's parental status is determined by statute. Once paternity is established or acknowledged, a father is the birth parent. With paternity comes rights and responsibilities, including being subject to a child support order.
Paternity fraud requires a mother to intentionally name a man as the father of her child who she knows is not the biological father. There are certain remedies to paternity fraud, but timing is everything. Ultimately, the specific facts of each case will determine the parties’ available remedies.
If a man has signed a paternity affidavit, he is entitled to file a paternity case in court and ask for genetic testing within 60 days of the signing. If the genetic test shows that the man is not the father, the court shall set aside the paternity affidavit. Outside of 60 days, the man’s paternity may not be disestablished, unless fraud, duress, or a material mistake of fact is shown to have existed at the time the paternity affidavit was executed.
It is important to note that just because a man’s genetic test results (at home or lab certified) reveal that the man is not the biological father, the court may be unable to disestablish paternity. Thus, the man who is not the biological father may still be responsible for child support. Indiana courts have long held that a man’s challenge to paternity when he has previously acknowledged himself to be the father should only be allowed in extreme and rare circumstances.
Regardless of whether the parents are unmarried or in the process of a divorce, if a parent has doubts regarding who is the child’s biological father, it is important to request a genetic/DNA test as soon as possible.
Joshua R. Hains has a decade of experience in family law. He is well-equipped to handle your paternity fraud case and will bring his seasoned understanding to fit your individual needs. If you would like to speak with Attorney Hains to discuss your available remedies, contact the office today to set up an initial consultation.