My daughter became pregnant at age 17 with a young man that she no longer has contact with. She is now 2 weeks from her due date and he suddenly texts her to find out what last name the baby will have. He hasn't helped in any way toward preparing for the baby or for her medical costs during her pregnancy (her father and I have done most if it). We live in Indiana and I'm not sure what the law states toward custody of the child between the two of them or how much paternity testing, attorney fees and court cost may run. Can u give me any idea as to these answers?
State/Country relating to question: Indiana
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I certainly understand your concern. Is your daughter willing to acknowledge he is the father?
Kim, thank you. Just one more question. Is she willing to allow the father to see the child or have shared custody?
No to shared custody...he can't even take care of himself. Would live to not have to let him take the baby, but doubt that is possible.
I certainly understand your concern. If she is going to place him on the birth certificate and acknowledge him as the father, he would have a legal right to the child. In a perfect situation, the two of them would be able to work out custody/visitation as well as any child support payments, which he will make. If they can not do this, the next step would be to proceed through the courts and have the Judge to determine if custody should be solely with your daughter or shared between her and him. Moreover, if he should have visitation and what his financial obligation would be towards the child. If she is going to acknowledge he is the father and he is going to accept it, there would be no need for a paternity test to be done.When deciding who to place the child with, the court is going to act in the best interest of the child. In the event that your daughter refused to let him see the baby, the obligation would be on him to take her to court, to have custody/visitation ordered. If you were to retain counsel, it could likely cost a few thousand dollars to handle this matter, depending on how contested it could become. The Judge may likely send the parties to mediation to try and resolve these matters themselves and if they can not, would then step in and decide based upon what is in the best interest of the child. In Indiana, there is no presumption favoring either party just by virtue of their gender, as such, it is possible that the Judge may award shared legal and physical custody, if it got that far.
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I was under the impression that in the state of Indiana the questionable father has 90 days to pay for a paternity test if the couple is unwed and after 90 days if he has not proceeded with a test, custody goes to the mother. You also never responded to what the baby's name must be.
You stated above that she is going to acknowledge he is the father, so it is something which she would have to place on the birth certificate and which they both must sign. If she is not going to place his name on this or let him sign it, saying he is the father, then HE will have go through the courts. Here is a link provided by the State, that advises on how and the ways in which he can establish it. http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/4728paternityformotherWEB.pdf
In regard to the Birth Certificate and Name, the following situations would apply:If paternity is established:
The birth certificate will show the father's name and the child may have either the father's or mother's last name.
If the parents are not married when the child is born and paternity is not established:
The father will not be listed on the birth certificate and the child will have the mother's last name. As such, your daughter could still say he is the father BUT give the child her last name.
Custody:Legal and physical custody of a child may be changed by a court in a proceeding under IC 31-14.
The mother will have primary physical custody of the child.
The mother will have sole legal custody of the child unless:
The Paternity Affidavit is signed after July 1, 2010; and,
Both parents agree to joint legal custody; and,
All the steps required to establish joint legal custody are completed.
Legal custody identifies who will have the authority and responsibility for major decisions about your child's upbringing.
This includes: Decisions about the child's education, health care, and religious training and access to the child's school and medical records.
Joint Legal Custody
means both mother and father share the authority and responsibility associated with
legal custody.For joint legal custody to exist based on a Paternity Affidavit, all of the following must be done:
Both parents must agree to joint legal custody.
Both parents must indicate their agreement to share joint legal custody by checking the two option boxes in Section F, item 1 on the Paternity Affidavit.
Both parents must sign Section F, item 1 and initial items 3 and 4 on the Paternity Affidavit.Both parents must sign Section E of the Paternity Affidavit after July 1, 2010.
Genetic testing must be performed by an accredited laboratory. A home paternity test would not be admissible for legal purposes.
The test results must show the man who signed the Paternity Affidavit to be the biological father.The test results must be submitted to a local health department within 60 days of the child's birth.IF the genetic test proves the man is not the father, OR if you fail to provide the results to the local health department within 60 days of the child's birth:
The joint legal custody agreement will be void, and the mother will have sole legal custody The establishment of paternity IS STILL VALID .The man who signed the Paternity Affidavit will still be the legal father of the child.
Hi Kim. I just wanted to follow up and see if this helped better answer your question or if you needed me to clarify anything. I am here to help so just let me know. Thanks!
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