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Carmel Paternity Lawyers

Paternity cases are often fraught with high stress and emotional turmoil. In these times, it can be a challenge to understand your best legal options, both for the present and for the future. You may want to respond impulsively in order to bring about a fast conclusion. However it is wise to gather your facts before making any major decisions.

You should not have to struggle to understand your legal situation, or to understand your best plan of action, especially when so much is at stake. By choosing to put your case in the hands of experienced Carmel paternity lawyers, you will sleep easier and your case will move with greater ease.

Joshua R. Hains is a paternity attorney with a decade of experience in family law. Over the course of 10 years, Attorney Hains has handled a variety of family law cases. He has represented clients on both sides of paternity disagreements, and he is well equipped to navigate the legal process from any angle.

With Hains Law, LLC representing your case, you can rest assured that your experience will be as efficient and comprehensive as possible. Joshua R. Hains is on hand from the beginning of the process until well after the final documents have been signed.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is an important step for any family. Signing the paternity affidavit is the cornerstone of establishing paternity, and an essential element in paternity cases. However, while there are procedures that one must follow to complete the paternity establishment process, the road can seem rocky and uncertain along the way. Trust Joshua R. Hains to guide you through your legal options. With the help of a knowledgeable and compassionate Carmel paternity attorney, your burden can feel a little lighter and your case can move a little smoother.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal process of establishing the father of a child. By establishing paternity, fathers have all the same parental rights and obligations as the mother, including the right to request custody and parenting time. Even if parents are living together or planning their wedding, it is important to establish paternity. In the event that their relationship deteriorates, the parties, while on good terms, will have established certain rights and responsibilities for the child. In addition, legal paternity establishes rights to social security, inheritance, veterans and life and health insurance benefits.

A man is presumed to be a child’s biological father if:

  1. The child was born during a marriage between the man and the child’s biological mother, or no later than 300 days after the marriage’s termination by death, annulment, or dissolution;
  2. The man and the child’s biological mother attempted to marry but the marriage was void or voidable, and the child was born during the attempted marriage or no later than 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, or dissolution; or
  3. The man undergoes a genetic test that indicates with at least a 99% probability that the man is the child’s biological father.

Paternity is legally established through the execution of a paternity affidavit, or filing in court to establish paternity. 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. 

The Paternity Affidavit

Both the mother and father must sign a paternity affidavit. The paternity affidavit can be executed within 72 hours of the birth at the hospital where the child was born or at the local health department in the jurisdiction where the child was born, at any time before the child has reached the age of emancipation. It is important to note that if a man has signed a paternity affidavit and then wants genetic testing, he must request it within 60 days of the date he signed the paternity affidavit.

When any doubt exists regarding paternity, a man should not sign the paternity affidavit and should have a DNA/genetic test completed by an approved laboratory instead. After 60 days, the court, without certain findings, will not set aside a paternity affidavit and the man is financially responsible for the child.

Either party may utilize the paternity affidavit and have the court conduct a hearing to address the issues including, but not limited to, confirming paternity and establishing custody, parenting time and child support.

In the event that a signed paternity affidavit does not exist, the mother, alleged father, or a prosecuting attorney may file a paternity action in the county in which the child, mother or alleged father resides. At an initial hearing, the mother and alleged father may agree to paternity or request a genetic test. The genetic testing must be performed by a qualified expert and approved by the court. The court will not accept a home paternity test to establish paternity. In the event the genetic test confirms paternity with 99%, the court will then address issues discussed above.

Paternity Fraud

Dealing with paternity fraud is never an enjoyable process. If you have come to the conclusion that you have been falsely named as the biological father of a child, or if you are being accused of a false accusation, Attorney Hains can help. From understanding the paternity affidavit to securing paternity tests, there is much to consider. But thanks to Attorney’s Hains’ specific experience in handling paternity cases in Carmel, Indiana, you can rest assured that your case will be tended to with the care and attention to detail that you need.

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.

Challenging Paternity 

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. An experienced team of Carmel paternity lawyers can explain your rights and options. 

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.

Contact Our Carmel Paternity Lawyers for a Free Consultation

With a decade of experience in family law, Joshua R. Hains has the focus and dedication to see each case he takes through to the end. A resource both during the process and into the future, clients of Hains Law, LLC will never be stranded or uninformed. When you rest your paternity case in Attorney Hains’ hands, you can set your mind at ease with the knowledge that the lines of communication are always open.

To understand your legal options, contact Hains Law, LLC today.