Lake County Indiana Paternity / Parentage Lawyer
Do you need the help of a paternity / parentage attorney serving Northwest Indiana?
Paternity law can be a tricky and complex issue to navigate. Generally, a child born when a couple is married is assumed to be the husband’s biological child. This means that both the husband and wife are equally responsible for the child under the eyes of the law, and that remains the case even if the couple in question end up divorcing. That’s not to say, however, that someone is required to take care of a child that is not theirs. In fact, there are a few different options to take when the paternity of a child is in question. Evidence that the child is not, in fact, the husband’s child, for example, can help overcome that initial assumption of paternity and help alleviate the husband’s legal obligations to the child.
One of the biggest misconceptions about parentage and paternity law is that the only person able to bring a paternity determination request to court is the mother. This is not true! Any party in interest – the father, mother, or the child, for example – can petition the court to determine the parentage of the child. While it is true that mothers tend to be the most common petitioners in order to secure support for their child, they are not the only individuals who are able to request for a parentage determination.
If you’ve been named the “putative father” – that is, the assumed father – in a suit, do not simply ignore the issue and hope it will go away! You have two options. You can agree with the judgment that you are the father of the child in question and therefore are financially responsible for it, or you can contest the judgment. If you agree with the judgment, then you have to sign something known as an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. Once you have done this, you are legally responsible for the child as you have been legally declared its father.
Please note that if you consent to an order of paternity, you are doing so for life! You cannot simply “take it back” or change your mind at a later date. That means that many courts will not permit you to break the ruling in order to avoid the responsibilities of parenthood, as you’ve already consented to taking them on. For this reason, it’s important that you take the time to really think about what you’re willing to do for the child as the years pass before you sign the affidavit. Even better, you should contact an experienced paternity lawyer in your area who understands the law and can advise you as to the best course of action – and you should do this BEFORE signing the affidavit consenting to parentage.
If the putative – or assumed – father contests the parentage of the child in question, then the most likely scenario that they will probably face is a DNA test to help determine parentage. This is usually done via a cheek swab that is conducted on the mother, the putative father, and the child. Note that the percentage of probability that comes from DNA testing is anywhere from 95 to 99 percent. That means that if the test results come back within that range, it is presumed that the individual who underwent the test is, in fact, the child’s father. Once this has been established, it would be the putative father’s responsibility to rebut this particular presumption – a difficult task indeed.
It’s also important to note that not undergoing the DNA test does not mean that you cannot be legally found the father of the child in question. In addition to being found in contempt for refusing to comply with a court order (and facing a potentially hefty fine or jail time in the process), paternity can still be established without your cooperation. You can be found the father by default, for example, if you miss a hearing or decline to go to testing once you were properly served with the court order.
If you refuse to comply with the court order and take the test, you could be facing some pretty severe consequences. You need an attorney who understands how paternity law works – someone who will be able to give you the counsel and advice you need when you’re moving through this overwhelming and difficult process. Semko Law Office has the knowledge you need. We understand how nerve-wracking this process can be, and we’re ready to help protect your rights.
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Contact Semko Law Office today to discuss your paternity case with an experienced and skilled attorney! We can help you determine the best course of action and help you get started building your case.