What Is an Indiana Paternity Affidavit?

Emily J. Schmale

Author: Emily J. Schmale

POST DATE: 11.14.23
Ccha  Family Law

When a child is born to unmarried people, the law in Indiana requires that paternity be legally established. This can be a complicated and time-consuming matter. One way to simplify the process is through the use of an Indiana paternity affidavit, which is a legal document that allows unmarried parents to establish that a man is a child’s biological father.

If you have questions about how to establish paternity in Indiana, the attorneys at Church Church Hittle + Antrim are here to help. Use our guide below to learn about paternity affidavits and other ways to establish paternity in the State of Indiana. Then, contact our team to see how we can help you protect your rights and your family moving forward.

Indiana Paternity: An Overview

Establishing paternity is often necessary when the parents are unmarried. Establishing paternity is a key component when also addressing custody, parenting time, and child support. Here are a few important things you should know about how to establish paternity in Indiana.

How to Establish Paternity Under Indiana Law

Under Indiana law, there are two ways to legally establish paternity of a child born to unmarried parents:

  1. Someone initiates a paternity action in court; or

  2. The mother and father execute what is called a paternity affidavit.

Where possible, a paternity affidavit can be a simpler and more efficient way to establish paternity. However, this option may not make sense in all situations.

Dad holding baby

Establishing Paternity Through an Indiana Paternity Affidavit

A paternity affidavit is a legal document that allows the unmarried parents of a child to voluntarily swear, affirm, and acknowledge the paternity of the child without the need for court intervention. To be effective, a paternity affidavit must include the following information:

  • The full name, social security number, date of birth, and address of both the mother and father;

  • The full name, social security number, date of birth, and birthplace of the child;

  • A brief explanation of the legal significance of signing a voluntary paternity affidavit; and

  • A statement signed by both parents indicating that they understand that their signature is voluntary and that they understand the rights, alternatives, and consequences of signing the affidavit.

Additionally, both parents must sign the paternity affidavit in the presence of a witness or notary.

It is also important to note that there are certain deadlines for filing a paternity affidavit. For example, if the parents execute the paternity affidavit at a hospital, they must do it within 72 hours after the child’s birth for the affidavit to be effective. The days in the hospital with a newborn can be a whirlwind of information and emotions, and a paternity affidavit is a very significant document. If you are unmarried, it is important to be familiar with the paternity affidavit, understand what it means, and know your options before the birth of your child. This will allow you to make the most informed decision possible if you sign, or decline to sign, a paternity affidavit immediately after the child’s birth.

Remember, however, that if both parents do not agree to voluntarily execute the paternity affidavit within the appropriate time frame, you will instead need to pursue a petition to establish paternity in court.

CCHA Law: Your Indiana Paternity and Family Law Attorneys

No matter the precise circumstances, it’s important to take prompt action to protect your rights and interests moving forward.

Failure to follow the proper procedures in a timely manner can result in negative consequences that have the potential to leave lasting impacts on your life and that of your child. Thus, it’s crucial to have someone in your corner whom you can trust with such a sensitive legal matter. Established in 1880, CCHA Law has extensive experience in this area and a rich history of helping our clients when they need it most. Give us a call today to discuss your needs and goals with one of our attorneys. We can help you fight for your rights.


What Is the Indiana Putative Father Registry?

The Indiana putative father registry is a state registry of men who have identified themselves as someone who may potentially be the biological father of a child born out of wedlock. By placing themselves on the registry, potential fathers can better preserve their rights by protecting against the possibility of their child being adopted without their consent.

What Is a Petition to Establish Paternity?

Where there is no Indiana paternity affidavit, the mother or potential father can file a petition with the court to establish paternity. This petition will initiate formal legal proceedings to establish the paternity of the child in question. Even when paternity has been established by affidavit, it is important to remember that a Petition may also be necessary to officially establish custody, parenting time, and child support, which differ from paternity.

How Long Does a Father Have to Establish Paternity?

Generally speaking, a paternity action must be filed not later than two years after the child’s birth. However, there are certain exceptions to this two-year period that may provide for an extension of time. Speak with a member of our team if you have questions about the applicable deadline in your case.