Having and knowing parents make a child’s life calmer and fuller. In some families, everything is simple — children appear and know their parents, and in some, the process is more complicated, and one has to fill out a paternity affidavit form. Our article will tell you who needs this document and why, what its advantages are, and how to fill it out.
It cannot be said with confidence that children from full families with both parents are happier. This is a very individual moment. But definitely, everyone needs to know their parents and has a right to this. It helps to know yourself and find a sense of belonging. Besides, having both parents provides some financial protection and legal benefits. We will also talk about all this below.
If a child was born during the marriage of two people or no later than 300 days after the marriage ended, then everything is simple. The man is automatically recognized as the father of the child. But what if the couple has not sealed their relationship by marriage or are not in a long-term relationship at all? We live in the modern world, and this happens more and more often. Marriage is no longer a prerequisite for having children. In this case, there are several ways:
Registering paternity by an order from the court is a longer and more complex route. DNA testing is often used for this.
Paternity (or parental) affidavit is a legal document that is created by both parents and serves as proof of the legal paternity of the named parent. This form automatically recognizes the person as the father of the child. Further court orders are no longer needed.
There are two methods to fill out this document — easy and more difficult. The easiest way is to complete the paper in the hospital within 72 hours of the baby’s birth. The more difficult way is to fill out the document at the local health department. But this can be done up to the child’s 19th birthday if the column on paternity in the birth certificate is empty (and unless otherwise is ordered by a court).
The first way is better not only because you do not need to go anywhere, but also because:
But it is also worth remembering one significant point. After completing and signing the paternity affidavit form, a man can revoke his decision only within 60 days from the date this paper was submitted. After this period, he cannot cancel paternity, even if DNA tests show that he is not the genetic father of the child. If, within 60 days, the father decides to revoke the document, then he needs to apply to a court with jurisdiction over paternity with filed action. Moreover, the mother of the child does not have the right to cancel the validity of the document.
We will not talk much about the psychological background of the case. The presence of fathers is very important in the lives of children. This makes their childhood more complete and their psychological health more stable. The role of identity, a sense of recognition, and belonging are also important. Even if in the future the father and the child will not communicate, this line and knowledge will not be superfluous for the child.
What are the legal and financial benefits of paternity? There are quite a few of them:
Initial legal recognition will give the right background to the paternal relationship with the child. Every parent has the right to healthy communication with their children and to take care of them.
Indiana laws regarding obtaining a birth certificate and completing a paternity affidavit are set out in Indiana Code § 16-37-2-2. According to it, this document is valid only if:
The document must be signed by both parents without coercion. A crucial point, spelled out in the text of the form — parents should be able to consult a chosen adult about signing the document and should be able to think over and read the document alone without the presence of the second parent. This point is especially important for parents under the age of 18.
The document is almost impossible to reverse, so it is important to take it seriously and get legal advice if necessary.
The form of the document is strictly agreed with Indiana law and does not allow free-form writing. Here you can find an up-to-date filling form and instructions to help you with completing it.
While filling out the document at the hospital will make it easier for you to acknowledge paternity, you should not rush if you are unsure. Remember that you are not required to sign anything, and you should not do this if you are not sure that you are the biological father of the child. Signing this paper can be an irreversible process. So if you need additional evidence, you have the right to request a genetic test. If you want an inexpensive test, we recommend you contact your local Prosecutor’s Office for more information.
Not only fathers but also mothers should be careful with this document. It is important to know that intentionally or knowingly falsely naming a father is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
We invite you to use our illustrated step-by-step guide to completing Paternity Affidavit.
1. Start Filling
At the very beginning of the document, you need to enter data by which it will be easier to track it:
2. Put Your Signatures
Parents must sign their names before completing the form. By signing at the beginning of the paper, you confirm that you had the opportunity to study the document on your own and resort to the advice of an adult of your choice. Please take this point seriously. The document can be challenged if this condition was not met or if it turns out that the document was signed under duress.
3. Fill in the Names of the Parents
You must specify the full legal names of both parents.
4. Fill in the Father’s Acknowledgment
Next, the child’s father fills out the sentence, indicating:
5. Complete the Mother’s Acknowledgment
The mother of the child fills out the sentence, indicating:
Father’s full name
By completing this section, the father and mother of the child acknowledge the biological paternity of the specified man. The mother expresses her desire for the indication of this man in the birth certificate of the child.
6. Fill in the Father’s Details
Section B contains more detailed information about the biological father of the child, including:
7. Fill in the Mother’s Details
Section C is filled in in the same way as the previous one. Only all data will relate to the biological mother.
8. Decide on the Child’s Name
Parents must submit a joint decision on the child’s name and write it in the appropriate box.
In the same section, you need to specify:
9. Transfer the Data from the Document’s Beginning
Start filling out the second page of the document. At the very top of the page, you need to enter again:
10. Study the Information
In section E, you will find important information about the validity of the document, your rights, and obligations. It is very important to study and understand it thoroughly. If you need help and advice, be sure to ask for it. This is your inviolable right. Remember that you are not required to sign a document under duress. If everything is clear and you have no questions, then put your signatures in the appropriate lines. The document requires the signature of both the mother and the father. Also, each parent must put the date of filling out the document.
11. Make Your Decision on Joint Custody
You can decide to share joint legal custody. In this case, the signatures of both parents must be in points 1, 2, 3 of Section F. Thus, you:
It is essential to note that if a DNA test is not provided within 60 days or it shows that the specified man is not the biological father of the child, then joint legal custody will not apply. But even so, paternity will still be valid, as stated in the paper.
If you do not want to share this custody, then at least one of you must sign in point 4 and put the initials of both in point 5.
Despite this, the paternity adopted in the document will still be valid. But legal custody will pass to the mother.
12. To Be Signed by a Notary
Further points of the paper are filled in by a notary. Also, a Notary must sign it to certify the document.