During divorce proceedings, child custody often becomes a central issue. However, when a child’s parents have never been legally married, how are custody disputes handled? In this guide, readers will learn about unmarried parents’ rights according to Family Law in Columbus IN.
Why the Establishment of Paternity is so Important
In the state of Indiana, when a child is born to unmarried parents, paternity must be established for medical and legal reasons and to build healthy relationships during the child’s formative years. Legal paternity gives children the right to:
Support from the parents
Access both parents’ medical records
Veterans’ and Social Security benefits
Health and life insurance benefits
Most importantly, paternity establishment gives a child the psychological and emotional security of knowing who his or her parents are.
Establishing Paternity in Indiana
In this state, a man is assumed to be a child’s father if he is married to the mother when the child is born or if childbirth occurs within 300 days of a divorce decree. In other cases, paternity is established by a court order or an affidavit. Biological fathers should voluntarily sign a paternity declaration within 72 hours of childbirth, and when both parents sign the form, the man is legally recognized as a child’s father.
When Paternity is Established
With the legal establishment of paternity, unmarried fathers assume all the rights and responsibilities associated with child support and custody. Men have the right to rescind their acknowledgment within 60 days of the completion of the paternity affidavit. Before signing such a declaration, parents should have their questions about Family Law in Columbus IN answered by a local attorney.
Custody Battles Between Unmarried Parents
Today, many young adults are delaying or avoiding marriage in favor of cohabitation. What happens, though, when unmarried parents decide to split up and a custody battle begins? A skilled attorney will help parents decide if they need to take legal action to protect their custody rights. If an unmarried parent needs representation and advice on Indiana’s family law matters, they should seek legal help as soon as possible. Parents may visit the website for more information or call the office of Alcorn Sage Schwartz & Magrath LLP to schedule a consultation.