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Petition for paternity---does he have any rights?

Indianapolis, IN |

I currently received a letter from my childrens biological father. (ages 6 and 3.5 years). He is currently in prison, which I believe he has been for a year? He stated he is going to file a petition for paternity. He has NEVER seen my 3.5 year old. He knew where to find me, and knows where everyone in my family lives, but never brought this up until now. Does he have any rights to my children? I found Indiana laws online (which I know not to trust everything you see online), but it stated after 2 years, the petition would void. Help Please?!?

should say recently, not currently***

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Attorney answers 3


At this point, no. Talk to an attorney though to prepare for the inevitable when it happens.

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You're correct that typically Dad has to file for paternity within 2 years. However, there are a number of exceptions - and the courts typically favor establishing paternity due to the fact that a child with two legal parents is less likely to need to receive state aid than a child with only one legal parent, due to the possibility of receiving child support. It would be a good idea to talk to a family law attorney about this - and most of them will be happy to offer a no-charge initial consultation to review your case. Call around and set something up with an attorney you like, so that you can discuss the details of the case with him or her.

FTA is failure to appear. It sounds like you're right - he may have had a court date he wasn't aware of. I'd recommend calling the court to confirm that's what happened, and have him speak with an Indiana family law attorney who practices in that county as well just to be sure. He also needs to make sure the divorce court has his current mailing address.

Good luck - hope this was helpful.

Kate Flood
Indianapolis divorce lawyer

The foregoing is not intended to be specific legal advice, but rather general information. Because of the nature of this online, non-confidential forum, and because each and every family law case is different, it is impossible for any attorney to consider all of the facts of your specific case and provide a concrete answer. If you require specific legal advice, you should retain a qualified attorney in your area.



We were never married, they were conceived and born out of wedlock. I have actually since been married, and my husband has taken over financial responsibility for myself and the children. I do know his charges he was arrested on, and they are not for FTA, but for theft and battery. I just wanted to see where we were on this, if I need to be concerned, or if he is wasting his time. My children DO NOT know him, as I said he has never even seen the youngest.


The simple answer is that the biological father can file to establish paternity, although I cannot imagine why he would do it at this point. If he is the father, there is nothing you can do to change that. Does he have rights to your children? Assuming he gets out of prison, he has the right to pay child support. He has the right to ask the court for parenting time but don't be afraid. Parenting time does not mean that a Court will automatically give him every other weekend etc with your children. You can request supervised parenting time ( at his expense) followed by transitional parenting time. Please consult a family law attorney about this matter so that you will be ready to protect yourself and your children if he does file.

Take a deep breath. Best of luck

No attorney client relationship is established by this response which is for general information only. The response given is based on the facts you have provided. As the law is very rarely black and white, the response might change were more information available. The best advice is to consult an experienced family law attorney.