Unlike in divorce cases, where children born during the marriage are presumed to be children of the Husband and Wife1, in paternity cases, paternity of the child has to be established by one of several means2. One way, in particular, DNA testing, creates a reliable basis for the alleged father to ensure paternity of the child in question.
In many paternity actions, the parents were together at the time when the child was conceived, and the father may have signed the paternity affidavit at the hospital. But, in those instances where paternity is uncertain and has not been established, DNA testing is an option to establish paternity that provides an assurance of whether the alleged father is, in fact, the biological father of the child.
In a paternity action, any party can request DNA testing by filing a motion with the court3. Genetic testing could be requested by the alleged father, the mother, or even the state if the paternity testing is being done under an action by the Prosecutor’s office to establish child support or repayment of certain birth- and child-related funds. Once requested, the Court shall permit all of the parties and the child to undergo testing.4 DNA test results can exclude a party as the biological father as well as confirm an alleged father as the biological parent.
The testing done for purposes of establishing paternity is to be performed by a qualified expert, approved by the Court.5 DNA testing through other means such as DNA tests from a drug store or online will not be acceptable for admission to establish or refute paternity.
The results of the court-ordered DNA test are admissible as evidence in later court hearings as long as there is not an objection in writing at least thirty (30) days before a hearing where the DNA test results may be offered as evidence.6 An objection would likely be that the test is not valid or accurate. Additionally, the results are admissible in later paternity hearings, unless excluded by the Court for good cause.7
If there is a dispute as to paternity, and the state pays for the genetic testing of the parties, the person found to be the biological parent may be required to reimburse the state for these test costs.8 If the alleged father is found not to be the biological parent, the mother may be required to reimburse the costs for same.
Establishing paternity can be an overwhelming and uncertain time, and can have many life-long implications moving forward, including the establishment of custody, parenting time, and child support. Undergoing a DNA test to confirm paternity can help determine the biological relationship to the child and ease the mind of parties in a paternity matter. Having an understanding of the process may make it easier when coordinating same.
If there is a concern about paternity, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney to assist with navigating the process. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of these cases. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.