Selected State Statutes: Indiana

Statutes: Indiana

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IC 16-37-2-2.1 Paternity affidavits; requirements; forms; penalty; effect of filing paternity affidavit; action to establish paternity

(a) A paternity affidavit may be executed as provided in this section through:

(1) a hospital; or

(2) a local health department.

(b) Immediately before or after the birth of a child who is born out of wedlock, a person who attends or plans to attend the birth, including personnel of all public or private birthing hospitals, shall:

(1) provide an opportunity for:

(A) the child's mother; and

(B) a man who reasonably appears to be the child's biological father;

to execute an affidavit acknowledging paternity of the child; and

(2) verbally explain to the individuals listed in subdivision (1) the legal effects of an executed paternity affidavit as described in subsection (j).

(c) A paternity affidavit must be executed on a form provided by the state department. The paternity affidavit is valid only if the affidavit is executed as follows:

(1) If executed through a hospital, the paternity affidavit must be completed not more than seventy-two (72) hours after the child's birth.

(2) If executed through a local health department, the paternity affidavit must be completed before the child has reached the age of emancipation.

(d) A paternity affidavit is not valid if it is executed after the mother of the child has executed a consent to adoption of the child and a petition to adopt the child has been filed.

(e) A paternity affidavit form executed under this section must contain the following:

(1) The mother's:

(A) full name;

(B) Social Security number;

(C) date of birth; and

(D) address.

(2) The father's:

(A) full name;

(B) Social Security number;

(C) date of birth; and

(D) address.

(3) The child's:

(A) full name;

(B) date of birth; and

(C) birthplace.

(4) A brief explanation of the legal significance of signing a voluntary paternity affidavit.

(5) A statement signed by both parents indicating that:

(A) they understand that signing a paternity acknowledgment affidavit is voluntary;

(B) they understand:

(i) their rights and responsibilities under the affidavit;

(ii) the alternatives to signing the affidavit; and

(iii) the consequences of signing the affidavit; and

(C) they have been informed of the alternatives to signing the affidavit.

(6) Separate signature lines for the mother and father.

(7) Separate signature lines for the witness or notary indicating that the witness or notary observed the father or mother signing the affidavit.

(f) Before a paternity affidavit is signed, both the mother and father must be informed of the alternatives to signing the affidavit.

(g) A paternity affidavit executed under this section must contain or be attached to all of the following:

(1) The mother's sworn statement asserting that a person described in subsection (b)(1)(B) is the child's biological father.

(2) A statement by a person identified as the father under subdivision (1) attesting to a belief that he is the child's biological father.

(3) Written information furnished by the child support bureau of the department of child services:

(A) explaining the effect of an executed paternity affidavit as described in subsection (j); and

(B) describing the availability of child support enforcement services.

(4) The Social Security number of each parent.

(h) A paternity affidavit executed under this section must contain all of the following:

(1) A statement:

(A) that, if the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) check the box located next to this statement and sign on the signature lines described in subdivision (2), the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) agree to share joint legal custody of the child; and

(B) that joint legal custody means that the persons sharing joint legal custody:

(i) share authority and responsibility for the major decisions concerning the child's upbringing, including the child's education, health care, and religious training; and

(ii) have equal access to the child's school and medical records.

(2) Two (2) signature lines located below the statements described in subdivision (1).

(3) A statement that, if the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) do not agree to share joint legal custody, the mother has sole legal custody unless another determination is made by a court in a proceeding under IC 31-14.

(4) A statement that even if the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) share joint legal custody, the mother has primary physical custody of the child unless another determination is made by a court in a proceeding under IC 31-14.

(5) A statement that, if the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) agree to share joint legal custody as described under subdivision (1)(A), the agreement to share joint legal custody is void unless the result of a genetic test performed by an accredited laboratory:

(A) indicates that the person described in subsection (g)(2) is the child's biological father; and

(B) is submitted to a local health officer not later than sixty (60) days after the child's birth.

(6) A statement with signature lines that affirms that an individual described in subsection (t) has had an opportunity to consult with an adult chosen by the individual.

(i) A woman who knowingly or intentionally falsely names a man as the child's biological father under this section commits a Class A misdemeanor.

(j) A paternity affidavit executed under this section:

(1) establishes paternity;

(2) gives rise to parental rights and responsibilities of the person described in subsection (g)(2), including:

(A) the right of the child's mother or the Title IV-D agency to obtain a child support order against the person, which may include an order requiring the provision of health insurance coverage; and

(B) parenting time in accordance with the parenting time guidelines adopted by the Indiana supreme court, unless another determination is made by a court in a proceeding under IC 31-14-14; and

(3) may be filed with a court by the department of child services.

However, if a paternity affidavit is executed under this section, unless another determination is made by a court in a proceeding under IC 31-14 or the child's mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) agree to share joint legal custody of the child as described in subsection (h), the child's mother has sole legal and primary physical custody of the child.

(k) Notwithstanding any other law, a man who is a party to a paternity affidavit executed under this section may, within sixty (60) days of the date that a paternity affidavit is executed under this section, file an action in a court with jurisdiction over paternity to request an order for a genetic test.

(l) A paternity affidavit that is properly executed under this section may not be rescinded more than sixty (60) days after the paternity affidavit is executed unless a court:

(1) has determined that fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact existed in the execution of the paternity affidavit; and

(2) at the request of a man described in subsection (k), has ordered a genetic test, and the test indicates that the man is excluded as the father of the child.

(m) Unless good cause is shown, a court shall not suspend the legal responsibilities under subsection (j)(2)(A) of a party to the executed paternity affidavit during a challenge to the affidavit.

(n) The court may not set aside the paternity affidavit unless a genetic test ordered under subsection (k) or (l) excludes the person who executed the paternity affidavit as the child's biological father.

(o) If a paternity affidavit is not executed under subsection (b), the hospital where the birth occurs or a person in attendance at the birth shall inform the child's mother of services available for establishing paternity.

(p) Except as provided in this section, if a man has executed a paternity affidavit in accordance with this section, the executed paternity affidavit conclusively establishes the man as the legal father of a child without any further proceedings by a court.

(q) If both the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2) check the box and sign as described in subsection (h)(1)(A), the mother and the person described in subsection (g)(2):

(1) share joint legal custody of the child; and

(2) have equal access to the child's school and medical records.

An action to establish custody or parenting time of a party who has agreed under subsection (h) to share joint legal custody shall be tried de novo.

(r) Before a paternity affidavit executed under this section is signed, it must be presented separately to:

(1) the child's mother; and

(2) the man who reasonably appears to be the child's biological father;

so that the child's mother may review the affidavit alone and without the presence of the man who reasonably appears to be the child's biological father, and so that the man who reasonably appears to be the child's biological father may review the affidavit alone and without the presence of the child's mother. A signed paternity affidavit is voidable if the requirements of this subsection are not satisfied.

(s) An agreement to share joint legal custody described under subsection (h) is void if either of the following applies:

(1) A genetic test performed by an accredited laboratory indicates a person described in subsection (g)(2) is not the biological father of the child.

(2) A person described in subsection (g)(2) fails to submit:

(A) to a local health officer; and

(B) not later than sixty (60) days after the date of the child's birth;

the results of a genetic test performed by an accredited laboratory that indicates the person is the biological father of the child.

(t) An individual who is:

(1) a:

(A) child's mother; or

(B) person identified as the father under subsection (g)(1); and

(2) less than eighteen (18) years of age;

must have an opportunity to consult with any adult chosen by the individual regarding the contents of a paternity affidavit before signing the paternity affidavit under this section. A signed paternity affidavit is voidable if the individual does not have the opportunity to consult with an adult chosen by the individual.