A Paternity Affidavit is a document that as a possible father you may be asked to sign at the hospital. The document is a chance for you to legally declare that you are the father of the child in question.
You can also sign the document at your county health department. Both parents need to sign and acknowledge the paternity of the child listed in the document.
Will I have to pay child support because I signed a paternity affidavit?
You might, and as the parent of the child, you have a legal duty to support the child. This usually takes the form of child support when a child is born outside the marriage. Usually, this will be filed by the State of Indiana, due to the mother receiving public assistance.
If you have signed a paternity affidavit and a case is filed to establish a child support order, there will be no hearing on the paternity of the child in question, without a proper request being filed.
Can't I just get a genetic test?
Read the document carefully. This document is you acknowledging that the child in question is your child. As a general rule, once a paternity affidavit is signed you no longer have an absolute right to a court ordered genetic test, because you have already admitted that you are the father of the child.
There are exceptions to this general rule where a genetic test will be granted by the court. But, usually you will have to show that there was a mistake of fact or fraud and it is best to not sit around and wait for something to happen once you have discovered that there has been some sort of fraud that has occured.
You will also have the burden of proving that there was fraud.
Will the child get my name if I sign the paternity affidavit?
This is up to you and the mother of the child. Part of signing the paternity affidavit is to declare a name for the child. It is best that you talk about it beforehand and when the time comes, you'll know right away if the child will take your last name or not. You will also be added to the birth certificate as the father of the child.
If the name cannot be agreed upon and the paternity affidavit is not completed, then if a paternity establishment lawsuit is filed at some point in the future, you will have the chance to make a request to the court that the child be given your last name.
What if I'm not the dad, can I sign the document to become the dad?
If you and the mother truly know that you are not the father, then you should not sign the document. By lying on the document, the mother can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Also, this can truly complicate things down the road, if you and the mother have disagreements about your rights (or responsibilities) to this child; or if another man who is the biological father of the child seeks to exert his rights and attempts to establish paternity in himself.